In most First Nations communities, members experience significant barriers when accessing certain health and human services. Many of these access barriers are also compounded by weather restrictions that affect our members’ ability to receive referrals for health specialists, who generally carry lengthy waiting lists. STC member First Nations face the same issues, where members must travel into urban areas at their own expense, or by Medical Taxi, to visit specialists for services such as renal care, dental care, or to visit general physicians.
Having access to high-quality community-based health services is a priority for STC Chiefs and Leadership. In 2018, Tribal Chief Mark Arcand approached various Private and Public Sector partners to consider ways to improve access to health services for the STC’s seven-member nations.
With the goal of improved access in mind, Tribal Chief Arcand invited other partners into a collaboration that would establish health bus services in STC’s seven-member communities, similar to a Health Bus program that the SHA delivered for over 10 years.
An agreement was signed in November 2019, and this also launched the Synergy 8 fundraising campaign.
STC Health Bus Schedule
The STC Health Bus program services will include a Paramedic, Mental Health Team, Dentist, and Dental Assistant. The bus spends five days per week in one community and rotates through the other communities in one-week periods. The bus has complete maintenance and mechanical updates during the summer months but is still available to book for summer events (like Pow wows, first nations games, etc.). The program will operate for a five-year term, beginning September 7, 2021, and its services will mirror the community school-year calendar.
During the summer months, the Fred Sasakamoose sport and recreation trailer is available to visit each community five days per week, throughout the summer. The summer program is facilitated by Joel Peterson of Fitness 2J2 (https://www.fitness2j2.com/) and includes various fitness and wellness activities.