20 remote First Nations link together by videoconference planning and sharing pandemic preparations

Submitter Name: 
Brian Beaton
Submitters Email: 
brianbeaton@knet.ca

This past week (see workshop agenda below) the Chiefs and the Health Directors from the remote First Nations in the Sioux Lookout zone attended a one day workshop to discuss concerns about the Pandemic H1N1 Flu Virus. 

KO Telemedicine (KOTM - http://telemedicine.knet.ca) hosted the H1N1 Workshop for the Chiefs, Council and Health Directors through video conferencing.

The September 10 meeting was scheduled for 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Central (11:00-5:00 Eastern) with a flexible structure to ensure the needs of the region First Nation leadership were addressed.

Three First Nations Chiefs from the region along with Dr. Valerie Gideon, FNIH, Health Canada,  delivered presentations on the preparations and the awareness they have in place in their community to combat the H1N1 Flu Virus.  The First Nation presenters included:

  • Chief Joe Meekis, Keewaywin First Nation,
  • Chief Connie Gray McKay, Mishkeegogamang First Nation and
  • Chief Adam Fiddler, Sandy Lake First Nation.

Health Canada is predicting H1N1 will be devastating and is reported to be coming in two more waves. As reported by CNN - The world will soon see an “explosion” of swine flu cases as the H1N1 virus spreads rapidly around the world, a top World Health Organization official said Friday, August 21, 2009.

H1N1 has targeted First Nations communities more than was expected. The second wave of the flu virus, also known as the Swine Flu is predicted to be stronger and more forceful which is expected this fall. There are First Nations that have a Pandemic Plan in place but there are some communities that are not ready for the next wave of H1N1.

Directed by the regional leaders, the KOTM team supported the leadership to come together and share what is being done in the different First Nations and determine how everyone can help each other in this time of crisis. The workshop was a good opportunity for everyone to voice their concerns on how Health Canada is expected to assist the First Nations during this time.

Follow up workshops and meetings are being planned to ensure the region is well prepared for any pandemic situation.

Workshop Agenda - September 10, 2009

10:00 am                 Prayer:  Chief Joe Meekis
10:15 am                 Roll Call / Introductions:  Gibbet Stevens
10:30 am                 Welcoming remarks and go over the agenda: Chair Tina Kakepetum Schultz
10:45 am                 Presentation:  Chief Joe Meekis, Keewaywin First Nation
11:15 am                 Presentation:  Chief Connie Gray Mckay, Mishkeegogamang First Nation
12:00 pm                 Lunch
1:00 pm                   Presentation:  Chief Adam Fiddler, Sandy Lake First Nation
1:45 pm                   Presentation:  Dr. Valerie Gideon, Health Canada
2:15 pm                   Chiefs & Health Directors Round Table Discussion:
                                Chair: Tina Kakepetum Schultz
4:00 pm                   Closing Prayer:  Chief Connie Gray McKay