AHS renews partnership with Alberta Native Friendship Centres

Alberta Health Services logo. On Thursday, 19 August 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Alberta Health Services has renewed its long-standing partnership with the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) for another three years.

The agreements allows the two organizations to work collaboratively together to “improve access to culturally safe healthcare and health outcomes for Indigenous people,” according to a news release.

“By creating meaningful relationships and listening to our Indigenous communities, we are confident that we can create partnerships that improve the health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples who reside in Alberta and we can do it together,” said health minister Jason Copping in the same news release.

The ANFCA works with 21 membership friendship centres across the province to identify the needs of the individual communities and deliver that support through programs, including daycares, youth centres, alternative schools, employment programs, shelters, cultural camps, life skills programs and health promotion.

Read more: Alberta native friendship centres help men, boys end violence against females

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“Friendship centres continue to provide a safe place and a voice to Indigenous clients, especially to those people living outside of traditional territories and settlements. The relationship we continue to foster is important to the health and well-being of all Indigenous peoples and we count on this relationship to improve health outcomes for Indigenous clients,” said AHS interim president and CEO Mauro Chies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the two organizations worked together to provide support for the Indigenous community by helping them access vaccines plus daily interactions to support clients.

“Friendship centres have been providing programs and serves to Indigenous people for over 60 years and their role in providing health programming and supportive services has been undervalued and overlooked for decades,” said acting executive director of ANFCA Jeanette MacInnis.

“ANFCA is looking forward to continuing our positive working relationship with AHS with this new relationship agreement and championing the voices of 21-member friendship centres and the communities they serve.”

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