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NAN signs relationship protocol with Cancer Care Ontario

Monday August 25, 2014
NAN signs relationship protocol with Cancer Care Ontario

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is looking for enhanced cancer care services through a recently signed relationship protocol with Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).

“Our First Nations are experiencing high rates of cancer and face many challenges including early diagnosis and access to related services due to remoteness and a multi-jurisdictional health care system,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno. “Through this partnership it is our hope that NAN and Cancer Care Ontario will begin to create effective planning for the delivery of cancer services across NAN territory.”

Signed during the Keewaywin Conference, held Aug. 5-7 on Mt. McKay, the protocol enables CCO and NAN to identify and address common concerns and interests in order to enhance the quality of health of Aboriginal peoples and communities through partnership. The protocol sets a new course for a collaborative relationship between CCO and NAN to improve cancer programming and service delivery ensuring those who do get cancer live longer and better lives.

“This agreement is a way for our organization to strengthen the relationships we already have within the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities,” said Michael Sherar, president and CEO of CCO. “We want to work in partnership to develop a healthcare system that is centred on the patient and takes into account the unique needs of Aboriginal peoples.”

Cancer incidence has been increasing among First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations, who have worse cancer survival rates than other people in Ontario.

“In the past, Aboriginal peoples were not engaged in the development of cancer services,” said Alethea Kewayosh, director of CCO’s Aboriginal Cancer Control Unit. “To improve these services we want to work with the community to ensure cancer care respects the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs of the individual, family and community, and that’s why we have signed this protocol with Nishnawbe Aski Nation.”

CCO previously signed agreements with the Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3 and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

“First Nations Inuit and Métis peoples in the north face great challenges when it comes to accessing cancer services,” said Mark Henderson, regional vice-president of the North West Regional Cancer Program. “The North West Regional Cancer Centre is a key partner in the delivery of care, so I’m pleased to see that Cancer Care Ontario is formalizing its relationship with NAN, as this will allow us to continue our work of improving care for the Aboriginal community.”

Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO, an Ontario government agency, leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

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