Health evaluation engages remote communities

Eric Plummer, October 16, 2017

An evaluation of its health services has the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council reaching out to communities along the west side of Vancouver Island, including settlements in Clayoquot Sound. (Eric Plummer photo)

Vancouver Island — 

An evaluation of health services is reaching out to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht on the west side of Vancouver Island – including those living in remote communities.

This fall the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is assessing the effectiveness of its health services through a series of surveys, interviews and community meetings. Every five years the NTC evaluates the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for its health-related programs, and the upcoming evaluation is expected to guide the development of future health plans. The NTC’s health services include early child and youth programs, nursing services – which includes health promotion – Teechuktl mental health services as well as health benefits.

The Nota Bene Consulting Group has been contracted for the evaluation, led by experienced First Nations nurse Marilyn Van Bibber, who is originally from the Yukon. With the goal of reaching approximately 10 per cent of the 10,000 Nuu-chah-nulth people, a report from the evaluation is expected in December.

NTC Director of Health Simon Read said that past surveys have indicated the challenges faced by both remote and urban communities.

“They bring out a lot of the issues that we have with remoteness and interruption due to weather,” he said. “Past surveys have also shown the gaps in culturally safe urban services for urban members, which NTC is not funded for.” 

The value of culturally-based healing is also expected to be highlighted, as this has been a foundation guiding the NTC’s health services in the past.

“People talk about decolonisation now, that’s the current language,” said Read. “Underlying a lot of the health issues is a loss of identity and disempowerment in one way or another.”

The evaluation is for those who have received NTC health services within the last 12 months. The health services survey is to be completed by Oct. 31, and is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NTC_HealthServices_Evaluation.