The All Nations Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle unveiled a new $3 million wing for kidney health wellness on Wednesday.
The Pasikow Muskwa Rising Bear Healing Centre offers health services combined with traditional and holistic healing.
“When you walk into this centre, you have the opportunity to go directly to the medicine man, who has the teas and the guidance of the grandfathers, or you can go to the Western side and you have the ability to access clinical services or you can access both together,” All Nations Healing Hospital Executive Director Gail Boehme said.
“Our approach to health care as First Nations people is more holistic, instead of the physical symptoms that the Western system treats” File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council Chief Edmund Bellegarde said.
“We’ll take an approach to balancing not only the physical, but also the spiritual, the mental and the emotional aspects of the health system of an individual.”
The second phase of the new centre will involve opening six new dialysis beds. Bellegarde says this centre provides a better option for people in rural areas who have to drive long distances for dialysis treatment.
“When we look at some of the statistics in population health and First Nations people in Canada are inflicted in a prevalence of chronic kidney disease leading to diabetes and the need for dialysis,” Bellegarde said. “A lot of our First Nations people in rural areas, living on reserves have to travel sometimes hours to access dialysis, it impacts quality of life.”
“That means an extra six, seven hours a week of with their family and not out on the roads, so it’s very important,” Minister of Rural and Remote Health Greg Ottenbreit said.
Chief Bellegarde also says that the centre provides a welcoming environment for health and healing.
“Sometimes the hospital where they are receiving treatment, they don’t respect the First Nations traditions and some of our cultural values. And sometimes, with the experience of residential schools, a lot of our people on reserves are not comfortable going into the public institutions and public hospitals,” Bellegarde said.
“So sometimes they just don’t seek that primary care and that primary access to treatment so they suffer further. So this brings that closer to home, it brings access, it brings a sense of belonging and a sense of pride that Pasikow Muskwa is integrating traditional ways that respect our cultural values and our spiritual institutions for healing, but they also have modern day contemporary equipment for dialysis, and it’s also about educating and creating awareness on how to slow down those prevalence rates.”
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