Eabametoong nursing station expanded, better services expected
Eabametoong now has dental services available at its newly expanded nursing station.
“The hygienist is coming in next week and the following (week) the dentist is coming back again,” said Bill Shawinimash, community health representative in Eabametoong. “For about two years now all our dental appointments had to go to Thunder Bay.”
Shawininmash said the community’s health staff now feels like a team at the nursing station, with Home and Community Care and Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program staff also located in the building.
“When we were separated, it was kind of like we didn’t have that sense of teamwork,” Shawinimash said. “We have access to our conference room now as well, so everything is pretty much in one location.”
The nursing station was renamed as the Kevin S.C. Sagutcheway Memorial Nursing Station during the Oct. 25 grand opening ceremony. The name is in honour of a community member who passed away at the time it was originally built in 1984.
Chris Sagutcheway and Marion Sagutcheway, Kevin’s father and grandmother, raised the community’s flag and cut one of the ribbons during the grand opening ceremony.
Eabametoong Chief Harry Papah said the community had been looking for a new nursing station, but they will have to live with the expanded nursing station.
“We can’t reverse that around; we have to move forward with what we got,” Papah said. “Everything is there, everything that we need – dental, X-Ray, examining room, lab.”
Grand Chief Stan Beardy was pleased to see all the smiles among community members at the grand opening, noting he had previously visited the community about a year ago during a state of emergency over murders, arson and prescription drug abuse.
Eabametoong declared a state of emergency on Oct. 22, 2010 following a series of violent crimes that had residents fearing for their safety.
“A year ago you had so many difficulties,” Beardy said during the opening. “We tried to help and there were a lot of prayers said on behalf of your community. To see you smile today is very nice.”
The $9.4-million project was completed through the federal government’s Economic Action Plan, which provided $135 million over the past two years for the construction and renovation of health services infrastructure for First Nations across the country, including health facilities and nurses' residences.
Eabametoong health manager Liz Atlookan said the newly expanded nursing station will provide better services for community members.
“Overall, it’s a bigger space and before the Health and Social Services did not work out of the nursing station,” Atlookan said. “Most of the staff are located here now.”
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