PHO Reports on Health & Well-being of Aboriginal People

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2009

Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport

VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, today released his report on the health and well-being of Aboriginal people in British ColumbiaThe 2007 annual report, entitled “Pathways to Health and Healing: 2nd Report of Health and Well-being of Aboriginal People in British Columbia,” is an update to the 2001 provincial health officer’s report and provides detailed information on the health and well-being of Aboriginal people compared to other British Columbians. This report discusses the progress that has been made since 2001, and the next steps that may be necessary to further improve the health of Aboriginal people and to close the gap between Aboriginal people and other British Columbians.

“While I’m pleased there have been some improvements to the health and well-being of Aboriginal people in B.C. since my first report, it’s evident a lot more work still needs to be done,” said Kendall. “We know the answers lie in fully engaging Aboriginal peoples to help find the solutions, in building capacities and in removing barriers.”

The report analyzes 64 indicators, including: determinants of health; healthy beginnings (pregnancy, infants and children); diseases and injuries; and health services. The report was able to show how 57 of these indicators have progressed since 2001. Of those, 18 have shown improvements, 10 have worsened and eight show increasing rates of chronic disease. The remaining indicators have shown not much change or a fluctuation in data with no trend.

“One of the biggest steps we’ve taken since the 2001 report has been to strengthen the partnership between Aboriginal peoples, the Province and the federal government, and have all three parties commit to achieving concrete targets,” said Aboriginal health physician advisor Dr. Evan Adams.

Improvements have been seen in overall mortality, external causes of death such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental poisoning, and drug-induced and alcohol-related deaths. But data indicates the gap still needs to be closed between the Aboriginal population and other residents, especially in the areas of chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, and hospitalization rates for external causes and mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use.

Other recommendations include making economic development a priority; improving housing and the physical environment for the Aboriginal population; and continuing to improve the socio-economic status of the Aboriginal population by creating more educational and job opportunities.

More information and copies of Pathways to Health and Healing are available electronically at or from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, 4th Floor – 1515 Blanshard St., Victoria, B.C. V8W 3C8.



Jeff Rud
Communications Director
250 208-4028

Pathways to Health and Healing (PDF 8.9M)
2nd Report on the Health and Well-being of Aboriginal People in British Columbia – Provincial Health Officer’s Annual Report 2007. Release date June 25, 2009.
There is also an appendix (PDF 1.0M) to the report.

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