Garden River First Nations Wellness Centre: The feel good H1N1 preparedness story of the year!

And ITQ isn’t just saying that because the article quotes her liveblog, even; these women deserve every bit of praise that they’re getting, and the people of Garden River First Nation are lucky to have them in their community:

The Garden River First Nations Wellness Centre has received top praise from Health Canada, leading national health officials, and the all party House of Commons Standing Committee on Health for its proactive pandemic flu plan.

Pam Nolan, manager of health and social services, and Maxine Lesage, a registered nurse and supervisor of health services at the Garden River Wellness Centre were invited to speak at the health symposium on Parliament Hill on Aug. 28.

Kady O’Malley, a blogger with Macleans Magazine, wrote that Nolan had given “the best opening statement of the day, as far as community preparedness goes.”

O’Malley said that the Garden River First Nations had put together “one heck of a plan. [Nolan] got a round of applause for her presentation…and the chair described herself as ‘blown away'”.

O’Malley quoted Nolan as saying, “We were fortunate. We went for it. Other communities did not and aren’t ready.”

Both Nolan and Lesage later told Sault This Week that they began planning for potential pandemics in January 2005 after receiving a template from Health Canada following the SARS outbreak.

They declined to take personal credit, however, for the plan’s development. Both stressed that the preparedness plan had evolved from a team effort involving all of their front line health workers in the First Nations community.

They also gave credit to Chief Lyle Sayers and the Council who supported them from the beginning. “We have a very supportive chief who let us just go for it, so we were able to produce the resources that we needed,” Nolan said. “And we were fortunate enough that Health Canada saw what we produced, liked it, and we were reimbursed for some of our activities.”

Read the whole article here.

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