NACCHO-PRESS TV:Canadian Aboriginals facing health care discrimination

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What can the Australian Aboriginal controlled health movement learn from the Canadian experience?
 
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“According to the report, while factors like poverty and the impact of colonization are known to have an impact on Aboriginal health, a “Western approach to health care” seems to be reinforcing stereotypes, alienating and intimidating patients.”
 
The  facts are outlined in a 74-page document titled “empathy, dignity and respect,” The Health Council of Canada released it not too long ago and what it is shows is Aboriginal Canadians face racism and stereotyping when it comes to obtaining health care all throughout the country. Pamela Shauk heads The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, a non-profit helping to improve he life in the Urban Aboriginal community of Montreal.

Now the independent national agency is calling for “culturally competent” care and environments in which aboriginal patients can be treated with understanding and respect.”

But even so doubt looms among Aboriginals and other Canadians.

The report was based on meetings with health care providers across the country, many of whom were aboriginal.The Health Council of Canada says when Aboriginal patients arrive whether it’s in an emergency room or in any health centre — they’re not necessarily seen for who they are and consequently not respected, and are not treated as fellow human beings.

Because of it, Aboriginal patients are now avoiding care or drop out of treatment programs.The situation is all the more concerning because aboriginal people often have poorer health and shorter life expectancies than other Canadians.

According to the report, while factors like poverty and the impact of colonization are known to have an impact on Aboriginal health, a “Western approach to health care” seems to be reinforcing stereotypes, alienating and intimidating patients.

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