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Original Research

Government bodies and their influence on the 2009 H1N1 health sector pandemic response in remote and isolated First Nation communities of sub-Arctic Ontario, Canada

Submitted: 19 April 2011
Revised: 28 June 2011
Published: 15 August 2011

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Author(s) : Charania NA, Tsuji LJS.

Citation: Charania NA, Tsuji LJS.  Government bodies and their influence on the 2009 H1N1 health sector pandemic response in remote and isolated First Nation communities of sub-Arctic Ontario, Canada. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2011; 11: 1781. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=1781 (Accessed 20 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:First Nation communities were highly impacted by the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.Multiple government bodies (iefederal, provincial, and First Nations) in Canada share responsibility for the health sector pandemic response in remote and isolated First Nation communities and this may have resulted in a fragmented pandemic response. This study aimed to discover if and how the dichotomy (or trichotomy) of involved government bodies led to barriers faced and opportunities for improvement during the health sector response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in three remote and isolated sub-arctic First Nation communities of northern Ontario, Canada.
Methods:A qualitative community-based participatory approach was employed. Semi-directed interviews were conducted with adult key informants (n=13) using purposive sampling of participants representing the two (or three) government bodies of each study community. Data were manually transcribed and coded using deductive and inductive thematic analysis to reveal positive aspects, barriers faced, and opportunities for improvement along with the similarities and differences regarding the pandemic responses of each government body.
Results:Primary barriers faced by participants included receiving contradicting governmental guidelines and direction from many sources.In addition, there was a lack of human resources, information sharing, and specific details included in community-level pandemic plans. Recommended areas of improvement include developing a complementary communication plan, increasing human resources, and updating community-level pandemic plans.
Conclusions:Participants reported many issues that may be attributable to the dichotomy (or trichotomy) of government bodies responsible for healthcare delivery during a pandemic. Increasing formal communication and collaboration between responsible government bodies will assist in clarifying roles and responsibilities and improve the pandemic response in Canadas remote and isolated First Nation communities.

Key words: barriers, Canada, government, H1N1 pandemic, improvements, qualitative analyses, remote and isolated First Nations.

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