Narrative – Advocacy Role for CHW
Challenges can be overcome from true and deep recognition within government and public institutions of social and economic vulnerability by strengthening of the immigrant population through policy and program changes. In particular, there needs to be the application of the principle of equity when it comes to funding to raise the health of vulnerable populations.
In times of resource scarcity, the re-allocation of funding towards the most vulnerable population through a population-based funding model would be most relevant.
Economic analysis of how the involvement of CHW’s in preventing costs within costly systems such as child welfare, emergency departments & hospitalization is critically needed at this time.
In this province, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is pursuing a primary health care movement. It is a moment whereby we can promote much broader-based formal recognition and support for community health workers like us, working on improving the health and wellness of vulnerable populations.
Short-term – the challenges facing the communities can be addressed by building the capacities (knowledge, skills and connections) of families in terms of equitable and full access to services and resources within formal systems to address vulnerable conditions of risk of homelessness, food insecurity and social isolation.
Longer-term - education and employment support leading to gainful & meaningful employment as a way to lift families out of trans-generational poverty. The support includes networking events, job creation with incentive for companies willing to hire immigrants and refugees, as well as incentives and technical support for immigrants/refugees to start and operate micro enterprises. Mentoring and support for recognition of foreign credentials among professional immigrants/refugees.
Specialized support for English-learning and employment skills development among refugees who are illiterate or have limited formal education would be helpful as well.
A health care system that truly supports primary health care development, and see how health is situated 80% of the time within the community, which means beyond access to health care, efforts to address the broader determents of health in a preventative manner is key to health equity. Community Health Workers are the most affordable strategy in attaining primary health care outcomes.