A Foundation for Change-Vision for the Future of Health and Social Services in the Northwest Territories

Organization Sponsor: Northwest Territories, Government


Program Description

Our vision is a Northwest Territories where our children will be born healthy and raised in a safe
family and community environment, which supports them in leading long, productive, and selfreliant
We see us achieving this vision through a health and social services system where:
• Northern people have the resources and knowledge to be well, and the health care and social
services supports to help them with challenges.
• Wellness is driven from within Northern communities and is led by community members.
Community leadership, care and services promote healthy choices and families, and prevent
avoidable illness. We recognize that the wellness of a community is not determined by the scale
of health facilities or the number of professionals.
• Partners in health and social services work together as one seamless and efficient system,
with community-delivered services. Everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities,
from Government of the Northwest Territories departments, to Health and Social Services
Authorities, Non-governmental Organizations, Aboriginal Governments and individuals.
• All partners in this system are accountable for their roles and responsibilities.
• This seamless system is coordinated around the needs of the client.
• We work with interested Aboriginal governments to proactively plan for future service delivery.
• We will use Northern facilities and caregivers whenever possible before using southern travel
and agreement.

We are committed to certain principles that will guide our actions: Universality, Basic Needs, People-Oriented System, Culture and Tradition, Personal Responsibility, Appreciation of
Staff, Prevention-Oriented System, Continuum of Care

Program Approximate Cost: 

$326 million

Funding Sources: 

Canadian and Northwest Territory Government.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

‘A Foundation for Change’ is a blueprint for action. It breaks out the actions that we and our partners will need to take, before 2012, in order to ensure we achieve our goals:
Sustainability is first and foremost about
wellness – reducing and preventing illness
and injuries and promoting good physical and mental health. Our health care system is the second most expensive per-capita in Canada.

Impact Of Program: 

The Department of Health and Social Services reports that
the overall health status of Northwest Territories residents (Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal) has been improving over the past few decades.
However, Aboriginal people continue to have poorer health outcomes
than other residents of the Northwest Territories. Many of these
outcomes can be attributed to lifestyle changes and choices, which may increase the risk of adverse health conditions, such as diabetes,
cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Social and economic factors, such
as low income, poor housing conditions, and low educational achievement, may also contribute significantly to the poorer health
status of the Aboriginal population.

Evaluation Tools: 

To make this plan accessible and meaningful to the public, we have provided long-term expected results. In addition, a reporting framework with specific, quantitative results is being developed. The Department of Health and Social Services commits to reporting on all of our results quarterly as we move forward with this plan.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

This vision further focuses and builds on our strategic direction:
Our Mission is to promote, protect and provide for the health and wellbeing of the people of the NWT. In this plan, three basic goals have been broken out from our mission:
Wellness: Communities, families and individuals make healthy choices and are protected from disease
People get the care they need, and know where and how to find it
Resources are used effectively and innovatively to ensure the health and social services system will be sustained for future generations.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

We must work together with Northern people, communities, governments
and agencies, to meet health and wellness challenges. Northerners need
to recognize their responsibility in making healthy choices. We have to
help them by providing clear information about how to access programs
and services, and being responsive to community realities. We also need
to ensure our buildings and systems are appropriate and aligned with
community needs.
Prevention and education are the best and often the most effective tools in helping Northerners avoid unhealthy behaviours and disease.

Length and Stage of Project: 


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