December 18, 2019 – After much intensive work, the Northern Health Region has completed its Community Health Assessment (CHA). The CHA is a dynamic, ongoing process undertaken to identify the strengths and needs of communities within the Region. It enables community-wide establishment of health priorities and facilitates collaborative action planning directed at reducing health disparities, improving community health status and quality of life.
Coordinated provincially, the Community Health Assessment Network worked collaboratively to structure the document using a common template. This approach will enable Health Regions to compare data more easily amongst regions, poising regions to draw on each other’s learnings and strengths.
The Community Health Assessment Network is comprised of representatives from all five Health Regions within Manitoba, the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Manitoba Health Seniors and Active Living, CancerCare Manitoba and Healthy Child Manitoba.
“The Community Health Assessment gives us a look into the health of people in our Region. We are encouraged by improvements we see in overall health compared to the CHA report in 2014,” shares CEO Helga Bryant. “We are a large region with varied geography and vast diversity in our residents. The CHA affords us a view into those differences allowing us to plan and deliver service as equitably as possible”
The Northern Health Region 2019 CHA illustrates some high-level findings, which will form the basis for the next Strategic Health Plan. As well, it will inform the Provincial Clinical and Preventative Services Plan, helping the region plan and deliver the programs and services that are needed.
Teen Births Declining
The adolescent birth rate in the Northern Health Region significantly decreased from 104.6 in 2012/2013 to 85.6 births in 2016/2017; that rate is per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19. Adolescent birth rates can sometimes be related to negative outcomes for both the mother and child, due to it being associated with inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty. The Northern Health Region has worked on programs to support healthy pregnancies including increased support in the prenatal period by public health nurses. Teen clinics at many sites cater specifically to the needs of the adolescent population and healthy sexuality programs include provision of free condoms, along with discussions about safer sex practices.
Problematic Substance Use a Concern
The Northern Health Region saw 5,593 residents diagnosed with a substance use disorder (including alcohol and/or drug dependence) from 2010/11-2014/15. That represents 10.8% of the Northern Health Region population aged 18 and older. Problematic substance use may lead to a number of acute and chronic disease conditions. The rate in Northern Health Region is significantly higher than the Manitoba average of 5.9%. Over the past several years, much work has gone into improving care for those diagnosed with a substance use disorder. This includes the initiation of a Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic in Thompson. Harm reduction initiatives have been enhanced including providing take home naloxone kits to prevent death from opioid overdose, and provision of safer drug use equipment is available across the region.
To access the Full Report
The complete document is available on the Northern Health Region website: https://northernhealthregion.com/about-us/reports-and-publications/community-reports/
Twyla Storey, Northern Health Region Communications (204) 687-0803