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Health

NWT pledges work to eliminate racism in healthcare


The NWT government this week restated a commitment to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism from the territory’s healthcare system. 

Julie Green, the territory’s health minister, said she spent two days last week attending a national summit about the issue – the latest in a series – alongside federal, territorial, provincial, and Indigenous leaders.

Indigenous patients have complained of misdiagnosis, discrimination, and neglect in the NWT’s healthcare system.

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“The issue of anti-Indigenous racism in our healthcare system has been around for as long the territorial government has provided healthcare to residents,” Green said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“The GNWT takes this matter very seriously, and we have certainly learned to do better from past incidents.”

In addition to “embedding cultural safety throughout the health and social services system,” Green said, the GNWT is “committed” to Indigenous representation in the healthcare system’s workforce and post-secondary health education.  

To help Indigenous people better navigate the healthcare system, Green said the territory’s health authority had created four new Indigenous patient advocate positions for acute care units. An Indigenous advisory board “receives guidance and advice on ways to infuse cultural safety, Indigenous tradition, culture, and healing practices” into the healthcare system, she said.

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The statement concluded with an acknowledgement from the minister that while “progress is being made” in eliminating anti-Indigenous racism from the healthcare system, the GNWT still has “work to do” to meet national standards.

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