Search for health-care solutions
NWT Health Care Association AGM ahead

Glen Vienneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( Jun 05/00) - It will be more than just a social call when the North's health-care professionals meet later this month.

The annual general meeting of the NWT Health Care Association will be a chance to roll up their sleeves and get to the work of finding solutions to the problems facing the North.

The association's conference titled Change from Within -- New Partners, takes place from June 13-16. It will be at the Hay River Community Hall.

The annual general meeting is June 15. It is co-organized by Sharon Ehaloak, the association's executive director, and Wesley Drodge, CEO of the Hay River Health Board.

Taking part in the meetings will be health care professionals, community representatives, health associations, government agencies and representatives, and health care clients.

Among the groups invited the Canadian Health Care Association, the NWT Medical Association, the Union of Northern Workers and the Dental Association.

The purpose of the conference is to give all those involved in providing health care services a forum to discuss issues facing the North.

"We're basically trying to develop a broad approach to issues facing us in the North," said Ehaloak, "So everyone will have a clear understanding of what exactly where the organization is going to focus in the future."

The conference will help the association hear about issues while giving participants the opportunity to form partnerships and exchange ideas.

It's hoped that as a result, the NWT Health Care Association may be able to take a lead role in the recruitment and the retention of doctors in the region.

This would be done by developing a strategy plan in partnership with the government.

"We feel that the association has made every commitment to where it's headed and how our role fits in it," said Ehaloak.

They could also find ways to address health concerns by forming new, more effective partnerships.

"There are several organizations out there that may be paralleling each other and not be aware of it," she said.

"There are other avenues of looking at how we can be more efficient and finding solutions to some of the issues."

She said that could include "looking at new ways of doing business, and looking at different ways that we can meet needs.

"We have a lot of initiatives on the table with the federal government and with the territorial government."

Following the conference, NWT and Nunavut representatives will be heading to Ottawa for the Canadian Health Care Association meeting.