Historic deal signed, B.C. First Nations to have own health care system

A historic health care deal has been signed between B.C. First Nations, federal and provincial governments.

The agreement will transfer responsibility to the First Nations Health Authority to develop programs, incorporate cultural values and beliefs and manage their own system of care.

The Canadian Press has the story:

VANCOUVER - First Nations in British Columbia are taking over their own health system in a first-of-its-kind partnership between aboriginals, and the federal and provincial governments.

The landmark legal agreement will see B.C. First Nations play a major role in planning and managing their own health programs and incorporating cultural beliefs and values into the system.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who was in Vancouver for the announcement, says the agreement will help streamline administration and encourage the integration of health services for First Nations.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, the chairman of the First Nation Health Council, predicts the new approach will see remarkable improvements in the health and well-being of First Nations in B.C. within a generation.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo says the agreement allows First Nations to take a step forward by taking back responsibility for heir own lives and for their own communities.

The transfer of federal funding will mean about $380 million dollars a year going to the First Nations Health Authority and the B.C. government has agreed to provide more than $83 million as part of the commitment to the agreement.

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