New on-line device permits Indigenous sufferers to anonymously report racism in health-care system

Indigenous sufferers are actually capable of anonymously report experiences of racism in B.C.’s health-care system, due to a brand new on-line device.

Safespace permits folks to share their very own or their family members’ experiences in a health-care facility and fee the power on a five-point scale.

The B.C. Affiliation of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFN), whose web site hosts the app, goals to make use of the knowledge to determine patterns of racist incidents within the health-care sector, and current options on learn how to tackle these points with policymakers.

The undertaking was impressed by the unbiased investigative report into racism within the B.C. well being care launched by former decide Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond final November, the affiliation stated in a information launch.

Safespace was created by Canadian Medical Affiliation president-elect Dr. Alika Lafontaine, an Alberta-based anesthesiologist of Anishinaabe, Cree, Metis and Pacific Islander descent. 

CMA president-elect Dr. Alika Lafontaine invented the Safespace app. (Canadian Medical Affiliation)

Lafontaine says he determined to create the app based mostly on his and fellow Indigenous docs’ expertise of racism within the health-care sector. 

“I’ve been racialized as a [health-care] provider. I’ve been racialized as a patient and as a family member of someone going to the health-care system,” he stated.

“Coming from that perspective, we had just a really strong sense for why it’s important… to be part of the solution to solving the problem.” 

Lafontaine says he expects Safespace will quickly be adopted by Indigenous organizations throughout the nation.

The BCAAFN, which has centres in 25 municipalities throughout the province, is among the many first to implement the app and has spent the primary a part of this yr providing workshops on learn how to use it.

BCAAFN government director Leslie Varley says Safespace permits Indigenous sufferers to voice their issues with out concern of backlash.

Varley, a member of the Nisga’a Nation, says she has seen how racist stereotypes about Indigenous folks — that they are hooked on alcohol or have a better tolerance for ache, for instance — have damage folks she is aware of who had been searching for emergency remedy.

She stated in a single case, her cousin needed to wait seven hours for remedy; in one other, an Indigenous buddy’s child with a excessive fever developed mind injury after they had been turned away twice on the similar hospital, she stated.

“The Safespace app… was to try to address these stereotypes that mainstream Canadians continue to have about us,” Varley stated.

WATCH | Report finds proof of widespread racism towards Indigenous folks in B.C. health-care system:

An unbiased investigation has discovered clear proof of widespread racism and discrimination towards Indigenous sufferers and employees within the B.C. health-care system. 2:03

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