News Manitoba

First Nations to receive footcare funding

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Anita Crate, northern co-chair of Manitoba First Nations Diabetes Leadership Council and Keewatin Tribal Council's tribal nursing officer, speaking at the Keeshkeemaquah Conference and Gaming Centre Tuesday morning. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Anita Crate, northern co-chair of Manitoba First Nations Diabetes Leadership Council and Keewatin Tribal Council's tribal nursing officer, speaking at the Keeshkeemaquah Conference and Gaming Centre Tuesday morning. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

The need for basic footcare in Manitoba First Nations communities will soon be met.

The First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSS) announced during its annual general meeting this morning at the Keeshkeemaquah Conference and Gaming Centre in Dakota Tipi First Nations that Manitoba First Nations communities will receive $19M in funding for basic footcare services over the next four years as part of a strategy to combat diabetes.

“The need (for funding) is huge,” says Anita Crate – northern co-chair of Manitoba First Nations Diabetes Leadership Council and Keewatin Tribal Council's tribal nursing officer. “Manitoba has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country and when you look in comparison to a couple provinces that have insured footcare services, our rates are much higher.”

Funding to deliver basic footcare services to every First Nations community in the province will be allocated based on the community's population size and individuals will be able to receive treatment through the Keewatin Tribal Council or directly from the community's health services.

“We have not only the high rates of diabetes but also with that comes the high rate of complications,” adds Crate. And although podiatry issues are just one of many potential complications related to diabetes, this initial proposal only pertains to footcare.

Today's proposal stems from a 1997-based resolution based by the Manitoba Chiefs-In-Assembly calling for a strategy to address 'the epidemic of diabetes and its complications.' Finally, two decades later, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and Health Canada approved the funding to combat the disease.

“We have been trying to fill the gaps in year's past by training nurses to get footcare certification,” adds Crate. “There are some footcare nurses out there. Now that we have designated resources specifically for footcare, some (individuals) may be able to (receive treatment) almost immediately.”

Those First Nations communities that don't have nurses that specialize in footcare will have to wait a little longer but a strategy has been implemented to provide all the province's indigenous communities with adequate footcare services as soon as possible.



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