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Friday, August 5, 2011

Report on Aboriginal maternal and child health in Canada to be released next week

Earlier this year, the Health Council of Canada held a series of regional meetings across Canada to learn about promising programs and strategies that are improving the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis expectant mothers and young children.

At each session, participants were asked to list the issues facing Aboriginal communities and standing in the way of better maternal and child health. Poverty topped the list, along with its cascading effects on personal health, family relationships and communities. There were many discussions about the impact of the traumatic experience of colonization—the imposition of Western values and way of life—and residential schools.

Participants identified more than 100 programs and strategies that they believe are making improvements to the health of expectant Aboriginal mothers and young children. Many of these promising practices are integrating mainstream health care with traditional Aboriginal practices. Thanks to the wealth of information provided, next week we will be releasing a report on what we heard at these sessions and the promising practices that were identified.

The upcoming report, called Understanding and Improving Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health in Canada, is the first step of a multi-year project by the Health Council of Canada to learn more about programs and strategies that have the potential to reduce the unacceptable health disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. Look for the report next week, August 9, on our website at

John G. Abbott, CEO, Health Council of Canada

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