Delegates from the KO Telemedicine team attended the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs' meeting in Thunder Bay March 18-20. KOTM staff were available to share developments and information with the NAN chiefs.
As part of the health report to the Chiefs, KOTM Program Manager Donna Williams provided an update to the NAN Chiefs on the KOTM program. The NAN Chiefs passed a resolution to support Telemedicine development in all NAN territory and for NAN staff to utilize Telemedicine for program support whenever possible.
NAN Deputy Grand Chief Stan Beardy and the Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse met with Health Minister Tony Clement in Kenora last week.Â Agenda items included public health requirements for First Nations, infrastructure upgrades to FN health centres and Telemedicine.Â
Donna Williams, the KO Telemedicine Program Manager, was invited to attend the meeting and be a resource for any questions the minister may have about Telemedicine.Â
Poplar Hill First Nation leaders graciously hosted a visit by Canada Health Infoway (CHI) guests Terry Moore and Lucia DiPascale.Â
Canada Health Infoway has been working with KO Telemedicine on a number of projects and wanted to come see for themselves the work that is happening in the communities.Â
Poplar Hill provided our guests with boiled duck and wild meat soup which was much appreciated.Â
Donna Williams, KOTM manager, briefed the participants attending the Aboriginal Health Care Conference on community telehealth initiatives.Â Lillian Suganaqueb, the Health Director of Webequie First Nation, told the gathering of the challenges faced by community members accessing health care and praised the impact of KOTM in improving health care access.Â Lisa Sarsfield of the Ontario Telehealth NetworkÂ said there is a strong partnership between OTN, KO Telemedicine and now Metis Nation of Ontario, the newest Aboriginal organization in Ontario to deliver telehealth, but she said more needs
Telehealth is closer to becoming available to First Nations is Canada as a result of the recent announcement by Canada Health Inforway (CHI) to fund the development and implementation of Telehealth/Telemedicine in First Nations communities provided they are integrated with provincial networks.Â
An important resolution, cooperatively developed by health representativesÂ at AFN, COO, NAN and KOÂ wasÂ successfully moved forward and accepted by the Chiefs attending the Assembly of First Nations gathering in Halifax this past week. For KO Telemedicine, the resolution is another level of support that demonstrates these organizations' and the First Nation support for community-based telehealth services. With this support and direction to Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), it is hoped that KOTM will receive its much needed sustainability funding from Health Canada when the current 2 year project is completed in March, 2008.
AFN Resolution, as it was presented to the chiefs for their consideration ...
SUBJECT:Â Telehealth/Telemedicine Development and Sustainability
A.Â Telehealth/Telemedicine facilitates access to priority services such as mental health, diabetes, chronic disease management and pandemic planning and improves community-based access to health services and capacity-building and training opportunities for health staff servicing First Nations; and
B.Â First Nations based and directed Telehealth/Telemedicine programs have demonstrated success as a proven model of facilitating health service delivery supported by First Nations; and
C.Â There is no current First Nations controlled process to address Telemedicine/Telehealth nationally;
D.Â First Nations Telemedicine/Telehealth Programming requires adequate funding to support local and regional ehealth initiatives.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that:
MOVED BY:Â Chief Randy Phillips, Oneida Nation of the Thames, ON
SECONDED BY:Â Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, ON
DECISION:Â The telehealth resolution was passed without amendment and without any opposition (as reported by Brian Walmark, KO rep and proxy at the meeting)
Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine (KOTM) has developed a paper focused on and entitledÂ Making First Nations Telemedicine Policy in Ontario. This paper was distributed at the Chiefs of Ontario meeting in Sioux Lookout this past week. We are sharing this paper in order to initiate a dialogue on how everyone can make Telemedicine available to all First Nations in Ontario.
First Nations Telemedicine services have been operating in Ontario since 2001. During that time, KO Telemedicine has worked directly with First Nations and their mandated health organizations to respond to community-based demand for access to these services. After implementing services throughout the Sioux Lookout Health Zone, in the Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island and in the Weenusk First Nation in the western James Bay area, expansion of First Nations Telemedicine services has more or less ceased. Still, we regularly receive requests from communities to gain access to this service. The Telehealth/Telemedicine Service Model presented in this paperÂ needs to be a supported priority in all the remote and rural NAN First Nations due to their lack ofÂ immediate medical services. This effortÂ is a critical component of this work.
KO knows that continuing to expand services to northern and isolated communities and eventually to all Ontario First Nations will require collaboration among First Nations and their health and political organizations in addition to federal and provincial system stakeholders. Everyone needs to be discussing how we might work together to bring Telemedicine services to First Nations throughout Ontario.
The Making Telemedicine Policy for Ontario document is very timely in light of Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) interest in distributing recently announced e-health funding in this fiscal year for Telemedicine expansion that would be integrated into the provincial telehealth syste. As well, Infoway has also expressed an interest in matching these investments within provincial jurisdictions.
Click on the document to view these PDF files:
Honouring the mothers and their new babies was the theme for the Wednesday evening gathering at the Kejick Bay Health Centre in Lac Seul First Nation. Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine in partnership with the Lac Seul First Nation leadership and community members hosted this special event for the Chiefs of Ontario.
Delegates attending the Chiefs of Ontario assembly in Pelican Falls First Nations High School in Sioux Lookout travelled out to Kejick Bay after their long day of meetings. They loaded onto boats for a short boat ride over to Makwa Lodge. A feast of walleye, prepared by Lac Seul band members and Makwa Lodge staff, was shared with all the guests. From there, the guests travelled by boat over to the Kejick Bay Health Centre where they were given a tour of the new Health Centre.
Then the main event of the evening took place with the guests connecting via video conference with the parents and their new baby boy (Lenny) who were in the Mishkeegogamg Health Centre. The entire session was webcast and archived so everyone can watch it at http://streaming.knet.ca/Lac_Seul_Demo.wmv.
Stories are told across the north about the changes that took place in the northern communities when mothers began to leave their homes to deliver their babies in far away communities. There are still times when mothers and their families do stay in their community to deliver their babies. With the use of telemedicine, these two new babies, their families and their communities were able to celebrate these new lives and new beginnings at home.
Weather forces videoconference births - The miracle of birth occurs no matter what.
June 14, 2007: Volume 34 #12
On May 19, in two separate communities, two mothers-to-be found this out first hand.
In Kejick Bay on Lac Seul First Nation, rough weather prevented Kennifer Bottle from getting to Meno Ya Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout as she went into labour just before 2 a.m.
Later that morning, around 9 a.m, a mother in Mishkeegogamang went into premature labour. There was no time to get her to the nearest hospital in Sioux Lookout.
The baby had to be delivered there and then.
With no other option, the delivery of the babies would have to happen in the respective communities. With the aid of modern technology and a little human ingenuity, it was all made possible.
Back in Kejick Bay, Bottle was unable to be airlifted out of the community and it would be next to impossible to have her transferred by boat because of rough waters caused by inclement weather.
With no resident nurse in the community, family friend and former community health representative, Bertha Bottle, was called in to help with the situation. Rita Brisket, a prenatal educator, was also informed and she alerted two visiting Northern Ontario School of Medicine students and Const. Phillipe LaPorte of the Lac Seul Police Service.
The crew, along with parents, Bottle and Lewis Wesley, made their way to Obishikokaang Community Health Station where they contacted physicians at the emergency department of Meno Ya Win Health Centre.
After much difficulty explaining the situation to doctors over the telephone, it was decided it would be best to use the videoconferencing system through Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) Telemedicine Network.
Stephanie Kejick, community telemedicine co-ordinator, was called in at 2:00 a.m. to set up of the system.
â€śAfter realizing the reality of the situation, I became a bit nervous,â€ť Kejick explained of arriving at the scene to assist with the videoconferencing hook up.
The nervousness didnâ€™t go away as Kejick had difficulties hooking up the system. As a result, everyone had to move to another room where the system was working properly.
Once connected, the doctors in Sioux Lookout provided directions to the crew in preparing the room for delivery.
The room they were now in was too small so furniture had to be removed so there was room to operate.
â€śHalf the team moved the furniture into the hall as the other half prepped the equipment and mother for the move,â€ť Kejick said.
In Mishkeegogamang, Darlene Panacheese had just driven through bad weather and arrived home at 3 a.m. from Dryden, Ont. At 9 a.m., she got the call about the mother in labour.
Still half asleep and in her pajamas, Panacheese went to work setting up the telemedicine videoconferencing station.
As in Lac Seul, the nurses in Mishkeegogamang had trouble getting directions from the doctors on call in Sioux Lookout.
Again, it was decided to use the telemedicine system.
Afraid the workstation would fail her Panacheese went to work. Once set up, the doctor was able to assess the situation and provide direction to the two nurses.
At 11:18 a.m., Lenny Wassakeesic was born.
â€śIt was amazing to see the doctor and nurses working together in delivering the baby,â€ť Panacheese said of how the team communicated using videoconferencing.
However, earlier that morning, another baby boy took the honour being the first baby to be delivered using Keewaytinook Okimakanakâ€™s Telemedicine Network.
At 3:48 a.m., Kraven Armadeus J. Wesley was born, weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce.
â€śAfter mother gave birth, I was so happy that baby and mother were fine and thankful there were no complications,â€ť Kejick said.
In Mishkeegogamang, the reaction from the nurses was the same as the delivery of the baby went smooth.
â€śIt was a very positive uplifting experience,â€ť nurse Lorena Clace said afterwards.
Brent Wesley â€” firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiefs and Health Directors met in Sioux Lookout on March 8 with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telehealth (KOTH) team to discuss the ongoing operation and development of telehealth services across the Sioux Lookout health zone.
Presentations by the KOTH team provided all the participants with an update of the status of the work that has taken place since 1998 when telehealth was first introduced in the region by the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak.
The afternoon session provided an opportunity for the community leaders to discuss and share their needs and priority to support a successful community-based health care service that is able to effectively use the various telehealth resources (equipment, facilities, staffing, network, etc) that are now available in the First Nations.
A senior policy advisor for Health Minister Tony Clement is impressed with the work of KO Telehealth.
Donna Williams, KO Telehealth Manager, briefed Jo Kennelly, a senior advisor for Health Minister Tony Clement about the telehealth applicationsÂ successfully being delivered in remote First Nations across northwestern Ontario.
Kennelly told the KO team that the government is hosting a health success storiesÂ across Canada conference in February and will recommend that KO Telehealth be invited to participate as a presenter.
To see photos of this meeting, click here...