A first of its kind health clinic for Inuit peoples' has opened at CHEO.
Last year, 2,200 patients from Nunavut visited the children’s hospital some 2,000 kilometres away from home.
The Aakuluk clinic will serve as a hub for children and youth from Nunavut who have complex medical needs.
Thank you Joavee Alivaktuk for sharing your hopes for how @CHEOhospital's new Aakuluk #Inuit child health clinic can streamline your grandson's care. And thank you Dr Radha Jetty for helping establish this resource. #ottnews #cdnhealth #Nunavut pic.twitter.com/q8b3ifLMPa— Alex Munter (@AlexMunter_) November 18, 2019
Patients will be greeted by Inuit 'patient navigators', as well as art and images from the North. The patients will also have better access to translation services.
"Inuit families are far from their homes, communities, and culture while trying to navigate some fairly complex health-care needs," said Dr. Radha Jetty, CHEO pediatrician and medical lead for the new clinic. "Following the wisdom and guidance of Inuit community partners, we have re-organized our resources and strengthened partnerships to streamline care for Inuit children and youth, so it is culturally safe, simpler to access and timely."
CHEO has eight pediatricians with expertise in northern health and many of them have years of on-the-ground experience in Nunavut.
The Aakuluk Clinic is also keeping with the goals of the proposed Kids Come First Health Team, which aims to help Indigenous people as a priority population in its first year. If the health team is approved by the province, CHEO and Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families are two of 61 partners who would come together to deliver integrated pediatric care for the region of Eastern Ontario.
The name of the clinic is an Inuktitu term expressing warmth, love, and affection.