The last few weeks have seen the world focus has shifted from the COVID virus, to economic reopening, and then to Black Lives Matter. Meanwhile the virus is still a big issue. We hit two major milestones this week; 1,000 deaths in Toronto and 100,000 cases in Canada.
Frontline healthcare workers are still working under difficult conditions with minimal access to PPE, so we’re continuing to focus on initiatives supporting frontline healthcare workers, as well as community-focused health initiatives, and protecting vulnerable groups. It’s with this mind that we selected our next grant recipient.
Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) is a fully-accredited community health centre dedicated to the health and wellness of Toronto's Indigenous community. They support the preservation and reclamation of traditional healing practices and offer diabetes prevention and education, physiotherapy, physicians, nurses, dietitians, naturopaths, and physiotherapists. They also offer mental health programs, and have experts in homeless and child & family services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, AHT continues working to ensure that First Nations, Métis, & Inuit people have access to the care and traditional healing services they need. While social distancing measures have required AHT to postpone group meetings, ceremonies, and sharing circles, the team are working diligently to provide support via telephone and in-person appointments for urgent needs.
Earlier this month they launched a mobile healing RV that is travelling to homeless encampments in the city to deliver services including housing support and temporary housing in hotel rooms, primary health checks including COVID-19 testing, and mental health & addiction support. In its first eight days on the road, the unit did more than 160 COVID-19 tests. The RV is adorned with a beautiful mural by artist Joseph Sagaj of a medicine man performing a pipe ceremony that is really resonating with the community and helps identify the unit as a place for culturally safe care.
“Chi-Miigwetch to everyone at The Home Front for their generous support of supplies for Anishnawbe Health’s mobile healing unit, said Julie Cookson, the Anishnawbe Health Foundation’s Executive Director, “your support is helping to equip the team to deliver primary care and mental & addiction services to Indigenous people experiencing homelessness during this crisis, and the funds will be used to provide urgently-needed items for the clients.”
Our donation will be used to provide PPE for the health care workers on the mobile healing unit. The unit has at least three staff a day that are required to wear extensive PPE including masks, faceguards, gowns, and gloves. They also need hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and other supplies to ensure they are able to safely operate.
Photo Credit: Ryan Walsh