KIA won’t use mining deals for social services

KIA rejects Aglukkaq's plea for help


CAMBRIDGE BAY – Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut's minister of health and social services, asked the Kitikmeot Inuit Association this week to use benefit agreements with mining companies to help her government deal with the social impact of mines in the region.

But Donald Havioyak, the KIA president, said his organization isn't interested. He told Aglukkaq on Oct. 16, the opening day of the organization's annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay, that the KIA might collaborate as partners with the GN on capital construction projects, but will not get involved in service delivery.

"We do have a different mandate," Havioyak told Aglukkaq.

In the two-hour session that followed, Aglukkaq then fended off numerous complaints from delegates about poor medical care, incorrect diagnoses, no access to medical specialists and dentists and a lack of public health programs.

Celine Ningark of Kugaaruk pleaded with Aglukkaq for more social services in her community.

Ningark said women in crisis often come to her home, where she tries to help them and their families to the best of her ability.

"We need programs in our communities to take care of our own people. The leaders of the communities need your help," Ningark told Aglukkaq.

Aglukkaq also heard how Taloyoak's three-bedroom shelter, which has managed to hire staff, pay its bills and feed its clients, on an annual budget of $95,000 for the past 15 years, is now sinking into debt.

Bob Aknavigak of Cambridge Bay asked if the department's aim of providing health services "closer to home" was still a priority.

Aknavigak wanted to know when more health services would be available at the Kitikmeot health centre and whether planned renovations on the future patient boarding home in Cambridge Bay would ever be completed.

"Is ‘closer to home' still here?" he asked.

Aglukkaq said $2.2 million of emergency repairs at the health centre, which resulted from a fire last summer, had delayed renovations at Cambridge Bay's future patient boarding home "a bit further," possibly to next year.

Several delegates also criticized the Lena Pederson patient boarding home in Yellowknife for its shabby and overcrowded facilities.

"We have to do some changes," Aglukkaq said about the boarding home.

Aglukkaq said her plan to improve the delivery of health and social services would be revealed during the legislative sitting, which starts Oct. 23.

These include details on how her department will phase in more health services at the new, under-used health centres in Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay.

Aglukkaq also promised she would produce Nunavut's first public health strategy and a recruitment and retention strategy for nurses.

And she said a new medical travel strategy would streamline medical travel in Nunavut's three regions. The plan is to contract one airline to provide medical travel for an estimated 30,000 Nunavummiut every year.

Share This Story

(0) Comments