Community Health Boards in Cape Breton Regional Municipality launch health plan

The three community health boards (CHBs) in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) - Central Cape Breton County, East Cape Breton County and Northside the Lakes – have launched their community health plan for 2019 – 2022.

The plan focuses on the social determinants of heath – those things in the community which support health and wellness. It also has two purposes: to serve a roadmap to guide the CHBs’ work locally for the next few years and to help ensure local issues are considered in Nova Scotia Health Authority’s health system planning.

“Our CHBs are proud to be the voice of our community in moving toward wellness,” said Carol MacLellan, co-chair, Northside the Lakes CHB. “Our community health board volunteers are passionate about the work we do improving health and wellness here at home. We want to make sure our work is aligned with the most pressing concerns people have here.”

During the spring of 2018, the CHBs held meetings in communities across CBRM and did a survey to gather input from the public on what issues and challenges affect the health of their communities. Questions focused on the community’s health status, the role of the social determinants of health in that status and what people think could be done to improve the community’s overall health. More than 600 surveys were completed. The CHBs also held discussions with vulnerable and marginalized populations and those who work with them.

From the information gathered, four priority areas were identified:

  • access to services
  • social support networks
  • economic conditions
  • physical environment

In response, the CHBs have developed two recommendations for each of the priority areas that they will work towards over the next few years.

Access to services recommendations:

  • support community involvement in CBRM to improve access to services with a focus on improved health outcomes including transportation and information on services and where to find them
  • ensure the voices of the vulnerable populations are heard, and that those populations are aware of available services, how to access them and are involved in the organization of the services they need

Social support networks recommendations:

  • support opportunities for social engagement in a variety of community settings across CBRM
  • support initiatives and partnerships with groups that target the reduction of social isolation and opportunities for lifelong social networking

Economic conditions recommendations:

  • partner with CBRM and community agencies to develop a specific poverty reduction strategy for CBRM
  • work with community agencies committed to addressing the impact of poverty on the lives of CBRM citizens with a focus on access to healthy/affordable food, and improving their quality of life

Physical environment recommendations:

  • work with partners on promoting the creation and maintenance of accessible infrastructure for physically and socially active lifestyles
  • support safe, healthy environments by engaging with other organizations to minimize risks and hazards to enhance community vitality

“Taking action in all these areas is going to require partnerships with many groups, individuals and agencies,” said MacLellan. “If any community group would like to hear more about the community health plan, a member of the board in your community would be happy to come out to do a presentation.”

The full report is available online at https://www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/chb-health-plans and click “Collaborative Community Health Plan 2019-2022 (East and Central Cape Breton, Northside the Lakes CHBs)”.

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Media Contact:

Lynn Gilbert, 902-565-9078, Lynn.Gilbert@nshealth.ca

Greg Boone, 902-565-6872, Greg.Boone@nshealth.ca