The Northern Access Dilemma
The scenario is set in Northwestern Ontario in a small region just west of Thunder Bay, ON. It is home to mainly Indigenous communities and it is a very remote area with little access to health and education resources. There has been a recent increase in the infant and maternal mortality rates in the region which has caused a public outcry and has garnered the attention of the municipal government. With the help of the Local Health Integration Network for the region, a public health committee was organized consisting of multiple disciplines including nursing, social work, midwifery, and geography.
The committee has been granted funding for the creation of a community health centre (CHC) that would provide a variety of services that are currently unavailable and hard to access in this area such as midwives, social workers, mental wellness initiatives, youth programs, and physician services (doctors and nurse practitioners). The geographers are carrying out an independent census in order to determine the most cost effective and accessible location for the new health centre. Their goal is to determine which location will be able to service the greatest amount of community members, while also being physically accessible during the winter months. The committee will discuss the study findings and the next steps during the meeting.