The Matawa Health Co-operative (MHC) was created in 2017 to enhance existing services provided by the federal and provincial governments to the nine Matawa First Nations in northern Ontario. This community-driven co-op supports Matawa members, both on reserve and in Thunder Bay. After numerous engagement sessions, members identified three main areas where they needed MHC’s assistance: mental health and addiction, diabetes and chronic diseases. MHC’s health providers, many of whom are Indigenous, use both Western and Traditional medicine and healing methods to provide safe and culturally-sensitive services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MHC has been on the front lines providing testing, treatment, food, shelter, public service information, mental health counselling and vaccinations.
As the first MHC Board of Directors stated in 2018: “A health co-operative means ownership by us and our communities. It is about providing the best services for our people, sharing resources and managing/operating our health system. We choose to work in unity, to break the barriers, to close the gaps and find true pathways to healing.”
Executive Director Frances Wesley, Director of Clinical & Nursing Services Crystal Bell and Nurse Practitioner/Broadcaster Crystal Hardy explain how MHC supports its members. Have a listen.