Surveys of dental health among Aboriginal children in Canada, using scales such as the Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT) score, indicate that Aboriginal children have 2 to 3 times poorer oral health compared with other populations. A remote First Nations community approached requested assistance in addressing the health of their children. The objective was to work with the community to improve oral health and knowledge among school children. The hypothesis formulated was that after 3 years of the program there would be a significant decrease in dmft/DMFT (primary/permanent) score.
This was a cross-sectional study of all school-aged children in a small, remote First Nations community. Pre- and post- intervention evaluation of oral health was conducted by a dentist not involved in the study. The intervention consisted of a school-based program with daily brush-ins, fluoride application, educational presentations, and a recognition/incentive scheme.
Twenty-six children were assessed prior to the intervention, representing 45% of the 58 children then in the community. All 40 children in the community were assessed following the intervention. Prior to the intervention, 8% of children were cavity free. Following 3 years of the intervention, 32% were cavity free. Among the 13 children assessed both pre- and post-intervention, dmft/DMFT score improved significantly (p
To retrospectively examine the barriers faced and opportunities for improvement during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response experienced by participants responsible for the delivery of health care services in 3 remote and isolated Subarctic First Nation communities of northern Ontario, Canada.
A qualitative community-based participatory approach.
Semi-directed interviews were conducted with adult key informants (n=13) using purposive sampling of participants representing the 3 main sectors responsible for health care services (i.e., federal health centres, provincial hospitals and Band Councils). Data were manually transcribed and coded using deductive and inductive thematic analysis.
Primary barriers reported were issues with overcrowding in houses, insufficient human resources and inadequate community awareness. Main areas for improvement included increasing human resources (i.e., nurses and trained health care professionals), funding for supplies and general community awareness regarding disease processes and prevention.
Government bodies should consider focusing efforts to provide more support in terms of human resources, monies and education. In addition, various government organizations should collaborate to improve housing conditions and timely access to resources. These recommendations should be addressed in future pandemic plans, so that remote western James Bay First Nation communities of Subarctic Ontario and other similar communities can be better prepared for the next public health emergency.
Drawing upon a comparative, qualitative study of the experiences of rural women accessing maternity care in two Canadian provinces, we demonstrate that availability of services, having economic and informational resources to access the services offered, and the appropriateness of those services in terms of gender, continuity of care, confidentiality, quality of care, and cultural fit are key to an accurate understanding of health care access. We explore the implications of living rurally on each of these dimensions, thereby revealing both gaps in and solutions to rural maternity care access that narrower, proximity-based definitions miss.
The debate on health care reform in the United States has been greatly influenced by various national studies showing a strong relationship between lack of public or private health care coverage and inadequate access to health services. There is also much concern about deficiencies in the availability and delivery of services to certain population groups--especially for those living in the most remote and sparsely populated areas of the country. However, national studies have generally not demonstrated that the use of health services is strongly associated with urban/rural residence or the supply of medical providers. In this study, we show that national studies can obscure the problems of certain population groups including American Indians and Alaska Natives. Using data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, the findings show that the availability of medical providers as well as place of residence were strongly associated with the use of health care by American Indians and Alaska Natives. Although American Indians and Alaska Natives included in this study were eligible to receive health care free of charge from the Indian Health Service (IHS), financial factors were also significantly associated with use due to the use of services other than those provided or sponsored by IHS. Also, the results show that while geographic and supply factors have only modest effects on the average travel time to medical providers for the U.S. population as a whole, travel times are dramatically longer for American Indians and Alaska Natives living in rural areas and where there are few medical providers. In addition, there appear to be fewer hospitalizations in areas where there are IHS outpatient services. We conclude by discussing the need for health care reform to take into account the diversity of a large country such as the U.S., and the special needs of population groups that are usually not adequately represented in national studies.
The reproducibility and accuracy of routine echocardiographic measurements made by an inexperienced doctor using tele-instruction were evaluated. Thirty-eight patients were first examined at a local hospital by an inexperienced doctor instructed by a specialist 450 km away at a university hospital. The specialist then examined the patients at the local hospital using the same equipment, after an average of 50 days. The accuracy of M-mode and quantitative Doppler measurements was comparable to that observed in reproducibility studies made under normal examination conditions. There were no systematic measurement errors. No important M-mode information was missed except evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy in six patients. In the two-dimensional examination there were differences of clinical significance in only three patients. There were no clinically important differences in the Doppler quantification of mitral and aortic regurgitation. Tele-instructed echocardiography is also an excellent educational tool, allowing an inexperienced examiner gradually to take responsibility for the local echocardiographic service.
Rural physicians in Alberta identified access to special skills training and upgrading skills as an important practice requirement.
The Rural Physician Action Plan in Alberta developed an Enrichment Program to assist physicians practising in rural Alberta communities to upgrade their existing skills or gain new skills. The Enrichment Program aimed to provide a single point of entry to skills training that was individualized and based on the needs of rural physicians.
Two experienced rural physicians were engaged as "skills brokers" to help rural physicians requesting additional skills training or upgrading to find the training they required. Physicians interested in applying for the Enrichment Program consulted one of the brokers. Each applicant was assigned a preceptor. Preceptors confirmed learning objectives with trainees, provided the required training in keeping with agreed-upon learning objectives, and ensured trainees were evaluated at the end of the training.
The program has helped rural physicians upgrade their skills and gain new skills. More Alberta rural physicians are now able to pursue additional training and return to practise new skills in their rural and remote communities than in the past.
Although the health of Indigenous peoples is affected by structural inequities, interventions to address health inequities are often focused locally rather than at a structural level where they could play a transformative role. Addressing structural health inequities by involving Indigenous peoples in health-policy discourses can serve to address power imbalances that are implicit in policymaking processes. Using an analytical framework based on interdisciplinary perspectives rooted in critical and decolonizing approaches, the author presents a discussion of theoretical considerations for including Indigenous peoples in policy discourses as a means of addressing health inequities. She argues that the involvement of Indigenous peoples in health-policy discourses has the potential to mitigate epistemological colonialism, push forward an agenda of decolonization, and address health inequities caused by inequitable systems of power. The article concludes with suggestions for future research and implications for nursing and health professionals of addressing structural inequities through attention to policy discourses.