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YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, CANADA: Delivering quality health services over long distances to small, isolated communities is an ongoing challenge across all of Canada’s territories, but the government of Canada has committed funds toward improving the health services, including oral health care, for all Northerners. Government representatives announced in October an investment of $28.4 million over four years to support health system innovation in the Northwest Territories.
This is the Territories’ portion of the Territorial Health Investment Fund, which was renewed in Budget 2017 for $108 million over four years.
The Territorial Health Investment Fund is designed to support efforts by the territories to innovate and transform health care systems, and to ensure that Northerners have access to the care they need. The funding will flow through a grant mechanism to maximize flexibility and minimize administrative burdens.
The funding announced today will enable the Northwest Territories to customize projects to meet unique priorities, including an oral health strategy, and it will strengthen cultural competence within the health system. Part of the funding will also help mitigate costs related to medical transportation, which is an integral part of insured services in the Northwest Territories because of the high number of small, remote communities.
Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, said, "Our Government believes that all Canadians should have access to high-quality health care. This investment is part of our commitment to support innovation and tailored solutions to meet the unique health care needs and challenges of the people of the Northwest Territories."
Glen Abernethy, minister of health and social services for Northwest Territories said, "Our government is committed to maintaining and improving the health and well-being of NWT residents by making sure they have access to insured health services. We thank the Government of Canada for this investment, which will help residents receive the services they need in key areas including medical travel and oral health. It will also support our efforts to continue to build a culturally respectful health and social services system."
(Source: Health Canada)