Federal budget cuts deeply affect the health of Aboriginal women | National Union of Public and General Employees

Federal budget cuts deeply affect the health of Aboriginal women

"Today’s cuts to Aboriginal health and well-being will be tomorrow’s burden.” - Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, president of NWAC.

Ottawa (17 Apr. 2012) – The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is adding its voice to the numerous groups and organizations outraged by the recent cuts to Aborginal health funding.  The federal government has eliminated funding to indirect services for Aboriginal health in order to preserve direct services to First Nations living on reserve only. The cuts affect numerous Aboriginal organizations who are geared toward the improvement of Aboriginal health including the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) which will close on June 30. 
 
Organizations that have concentrated on Aboriginal women’s health such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada have been severly affected as well.
 
The Health Department of NWAC was notified by Health Canada on April 13 that it will not support any of NWAC’s innovative health programs or policy work, some of which have been held up as “best practices”. These cuts will result in the loss of programs and research addressing early childhood development, diabetes, HIV, FASD, youth mental health promotion and suicide prevention and Aboriginal health human resources development.  It has also resulted in layoffs for the NWAC Health staff.
 
The decision to fund all direct services to reserve only residents, deeply effects the health of the more than 70% of Aboriginal women who do not live on reserves. Aboriginal women are the least healthy and suffer the greatest chronic health conditions than any other segment of Canadian society. 
 
They also are at highest risk of health concerns due to circumstances such as severe poverty. Statistics Canada reports that 36 per cent of Aboriginal women live in poverty which is more than double the rate of poverty for their non Aboriginal counterparts.
 
They experience unacceptably high levels of violence and abuse, Aboriginal women are newly diagnosed with HIV at over three times the rate of their non-Aboriginal counterparts, have atrocious disparities in suicide rates, and live on average almost six years less than non Aboriginal women.
 
“NWAC is calling on the public to demand that the Federal Government of Canada re-think its choices and give Canadians the information they need to understand the impacts of this budget and re-think this devastating decision. Today’s cuts to Aboriginal health and well-being will be tomorrow’s burden,” states Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, president of NWAC.
 
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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE 
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