Ottawa

Indigenous health-care unit opens at Maniwaki Hospital

A new unit offering health and social services for residents of two Algonquin communities in western Quebec is now up and running at the Maniwaki Hospital.

1-stop service centre tailored to residents of Kitigan Zibi, Lac-Barrière

A drum ceremony announces the official opening of the expanded health and social service centre at the Maniwaki Hospital. (Radio-Canada)

A new unit offering health and social services for residents of two Algonquin communities in western Quebec is now up and running at the Maniwaki Hospital.

Le Service intégré aux Premières Nations offers services tailored to residents of Kitigan Zibi and Lac-Barrière under one roof.

Its staff includes an interpreter who speaks English, French and Algonquin, and a liaison officer to help people navigate the various services, which used to be scattered throughout the area.

The new unit came about in response to specific needs expressed by residents of those communities, according to Michelyne Gagné, the local health agency's director of youth protection.

The centre's director, Daniel Latour, said he hopes the facility will become a model for other communities. (Radio-Canada)

Gagné said some Indigenous people have been reticent to turn to the public health system in the past.

"I can't hide the fact there may still be racism and prejudice toward First Nations people," she said in French. "We want to contribute to diminishing this."

"We're improving the bond of trust," said Daniel Latour, the centre's director.

If it's successful, Latour said the model may be replicated in other communities.

With files from Yasmine Mehdi

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