NDP calls on federal government to save First Nations maternal health program

New Democrats are calling on the Conservative government to reverse its decision to end the Strengthening Families – Maternal Child Health (SF-MCH) program for First Nations in Manitoba.

“This program has proven to be effective, and with infant mortality rates for First Nations babies twice that of the non-Indigenous population in Canada, we need more, not less, maternal health support,” said NDP MP Niki Ashton (Churchill).

Organizations from across the country, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Association of Midwives have written to the Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, in an effort to save SF-MCH, which provides support for 14 First Nation communities throughout Manitoba.

NDP First Nations Health Critic, Carol Hughes (Algoma – Manitoulin – Kapuskasing), also raised the issue during Question Period in the House of Commons.

“The NDP fully supports maternal health overseas, but women here in Canada need support too,” said Hughes. “Will the Minister reverse the decision and maintain funding for this vital maternal health program?”