Addressing the realties of health care in northern aboriginal communities through participatory action research
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To address concerns about disruptions in the continuity of health care delivered to residents in three remote aboriginal communities in northern Ontario, Canada, the local health authority initiated a study in collaboration with the department of Health Canada responsible for ensuring that aboriginal reserves receive mandatory health services, and an inter-disciplinary team of researchers from two universities. The study focussed on the delivery of oncology, diabetes and mental health care, specifically, as well as systems issues such as recruitment and retention of health human resources and financial costs. The paper discusses the procedures involved, the benefits derived and the challenges encountered in doing this as a community driven participatory action research project. It also summarizes the findings that led to community formulated policy and program recommendations.
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