Nain woman pushing for changes to medical travel coverage

A woman in Nain is lobbying the Nunatsiavut government to change its policy in support of expectant mothers who have to travel to give birth.
A woman from Nain is lobbying Nunatsiavut to make changes to its medical travel escort policy to include coverage for someone to accompany expectant mothers waiting to give birth. (Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press)

A woman in Nain is lobbying the Nunatsiavut government to change its policy in support of expectant mothers who have to travel to give birth.


Pregnant women in towns along Labrador's coast have to fly into larger centres, like Happy Valley-Goose Bay, to receive treatment.

The same policy applies for medical treatments for other people, but the rules are different.

Roxanne Andersen said it's not fair that the Inuit government covers the cost for someone to accompany a patient obtaining other treatments, but does not provide the same coverage to expectant mothers.

If a person, including the child's father, wanted to accompany the mother-to-be to the large health centre, it would be an added expense.

Andersen started an online advocacy petition to get free travel escorts for pregnant women and expectant mothers.

"We're all sent away from home to have a baby, and we're being away from our family, our friends, our comfort zone," said Andersen.

"I'm doing it for everybody because nobody, no mother, ever, either having a fifth child or a first child, should ever have to go through labour alone."

Kelly Edmunds, a supporter of the group, said it doesn't seem right that even the cost for the father to travel isn't covered.

"It almost seems to be obvious that we need an escort, like, anything could happen, and things do happen to most women, like C-sections and almost dying and stuff like that," said Edmunds.

Nunatsiavut said it's following Health Canada's policy on travel escorts, but it may review the issue at a council meeting set for July.