The Shibogama Health Authority's primary function is to deliver health programs on behalf of the Shibogama Health Council, and to assist with community development that will see the First Nations assume and administer health related projects that are currently the responsibility of the Shibogama Health Authority. Each community has now taken control of their own nursing programs and nursing travel arrangements, while Shibogama Health Authority is available to them for consultation and advisory services, as well as providing assistance with recruitment.
The Health Director supervises the Shibogama Health Authority (SHA) staff, administers the various health projects and works with the community Health Directors on health transfer activities. The Health Director represents SHA and Shibogama First Nations Council communities on key local and PTO level committees, and provides for an active liaison with other local first Nation health organizations. The Director takes a leadership role on pending health care issues.
The Shibogama Communities of Wapekeka (Pop 420), Kingfisher Lake (Pop 411), and Wunnumin Lake (Pop 475) were the first Native group in Ontario to take over extensive control of health services, including Health Centres with treatment components. These services were transferred from Medical Services Branch, Health Canada in 1994 and the change has been very positive for the communities.
These communities are isolated and normally accessible by air only, the exception being short-term winter roads. The usual point of departure for aircraft is Sioux Lookout, which is a town with a population of about 5800 located approximately 400 km Northwest of Thunder Bay on Highway 72. Because of the Shibogama communities' isolation, many services are provided from Sioux Lookout.
The clinics are equipped with defibrillators, EKG machines, and X-Ray facilities (the exception being the Wapekeka nursing station, which uses a nearby nursing station machine), and maintain a comprehensive pharmacy. Rooms are designated for emergencies and public health teaching. All centres have visitor accommodations.
Kingfisher Lake has a new Health Centre, comprised of offices, clinic rooms, inpatient facilities, and attached nursing quarters consisting of two 2-bedroom apartments and one 1-bedroom apartment.
Wapekeka has a smaller Health Centre, with a new nursing residence duplex nearby.
Wunnumin Lake also has a modern Health Centre with the attached nursing quarters consisting of one 2-bedroom apartment and two 1-bedroom apartments.
Nurses provide a full range of programs, including Primary Health Care & emergency Inpatient Care (limited), Prenatal/Postnatal Care and Education, Well Child Clinic, Chronic Patient Care (clinic & home visits), communicable Disease Control, Immunization Program, Mental Health Program, Well Woman Clinic, and many more.
Each community has a local Health Council and Health Director, who work closely with the Nurse-in-Charge and staff nurses. Resource Teams, made up of Band Family Services, Family Counselling, and Mental Health Services, Alcohol, Drug, and Solvent Abuse counselling services have also been organized.
A local First Response Team is available for emergencies. Health Centre staff including Community Health Representatives (CHR's), Clerks, and Caretakers are essential in the operation of the Centres. There is policing in each community.
Clinical assistance is provided 24 hours a day via telephone by physicians located at the Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout. A physician is designated to each community and visits monthly. Other health professionals such as physiotherapists, diabetes specialists, dentists, optometrists, and pediatricians also visit periodically. Nurses consult with the Meno-Ya-Win physicians and medical specialists as needed. Air ambulance is used for medical evacuations.
Health Authority Staff
Shibogama Main Office - 807.737.2662
Director - Sol Mamakwa Ext. 2236
Nursing Director - Opal Smith Ext. 2260
Payahtakenemowin Clinical Coordinator - Howard Meshake Ext. 2259
Patient Liaison Services Worker - Pearl Mamakwa Ext. 2269
Clinical Supervisor - Mary-Ellen Johnson Ext. 2227
Admin. Assistant - Caroline Mamakwa Ext. 2232