Widening health gap for First Nations in Manitoba is a wake-up call to governments, health organizations and academic institutions

Eagle feathers hanging off an eagle staff

September 17, 2019

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

Andrew Thunder

Sept. 17, 2019

Treaty One Territory, MB. _ A new joint study on First Nations health in Manitoba reveals the gap has widened considerably in the past 17 years.

The joint study by the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) found a First Nation person’s life expectancy is now 11 years lower than the general Manitoba population. In 2002, it was seven years lower.

“While the results are startling, they are not surprising. The quote, ‘Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets’ is very apparent from this report,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. “The data clearly indicates the provincial and federal health systems are failing First Nations.”

The Health Status of and Access to Healthcare by Registered First Nation Peoples in Manitoba study shows that health status and health-care access, along with the inequities between First Nations citizens and all other Manitobans has gotten worse, according to many indicators.

“Unfortunately, poor health outcomes have been normalized or expected for First Nations but that shouldn’t be our reality. There is nothing normal or acceptable about this. In fact, it should be considered a crisis in this province,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

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