By Laura Mushumanski
(ANNews) – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working hard to keep Albertans healthy, informed and educated about the Coronavirus pandemic. It has continued to provide clear descriptions of the hygienic requirements and social distance strategies needed to keep the numbers low. It’s also provided detailed updates on the number of cases found throughout the province including in First Nations. AHS has commended First Nations for their efforts in keeping their communities safe.
A rigorous testing and information campaign has been key to the AHS strategy to keep Albertans healthy.
Recently AHS produced translated resources for COVID-19, in several languages including Plains Cree. Although they do not use words like tapwe and stagutts, the resources being used are aimed at lessening the language barriers between Indigenous and non-indigenous people during COVID-19.
Alberta Health Services Infection Prevention & Control have put together 8 COVID-19 resource links written in nehiyawewin for our Indigenous community members that speak, read and write in their mother tongue. There is also a video Alberta Health Services has provided in Cree for information about COVID-19 and physical distancing.
The first poster explains COVID-19 restrictions for visitors coming into any Alberta Health Services facility, kihokewin mekwâc oma âhkosiwin ka pim wik (visiting during COVID-19); only essential visitors are allowed in and they have to pre-arrange their visitation prior to visiting a loved one on site. The poster includes a large red micihciy (hand), followed by an explanation of what to do if wanting to visit a loved one in a healthcare facility during COVID.
On the second link taken from AHS nehiyawewin COVID-19, it includes a six-page guideline translated in Cree with English in brackets, listing the restrictions for visiting patients in long-term care, acute care, end of life, with suspected COVID-19, and requirement for all visitors regardless of setting. Essentially, if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, ay-api-wîkihk! (stay home!)
NAKI! Translates to STOP!, and with COVID precautions in mind, once again anyone traveling outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, as well as anyone that has been close contact with a confirmed case of COVID, or has symptoms of COVID, please hibernate in your home for the next two weeks.
Alberta Health Services has also put together a poster for how to care for a COVID patient at home, tanisisi awîyak kanakateyimiht ōma ka âhkosihk COVID-19 wîkihk. Information includes metoni kanakateyehtamihk otâhkosiw, âkawâyâhk cîkâhtaw ka wecikapawestawat (maintaining safe distancing from the ill individual), kasichiche kahkiyipa asici kisepekinikan ekwa kisâkamicêwâpô (washing hands frequently with soap and warm water), ekwa namoya okiyokêw ka pihtikwet wîkowin (and visitors should not be coming to the house).
Kîspin ostostotamowin, kisisowin, ahpô misamiyêhêw – peyakwanohk kâyâhk kikihk sewepitamaw 811; If you develop symptoms – cough, fever or difficulty breathing – stay home and call Health Link 811 for instructions and testing. Do not go to the ER or doctor’s office. Call 911 for a healthcare emergency.
For more information about COVID-19 and Indigenous people and communities, please refer to AHS online Indigenous Peoples & Communities resources.
AHS formed 11 years ago and has continued to follow its mission to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
Alberta Health Services provides services to over 4.4 million Albertans, as well as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories residents. It is Canada’s first province-wide fully integrated health system.
Laura Mushumanski is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Indigenous issues for Alberta Native News.