Maternal Health Project
Improving maternal and infant health among Indigenous women and families in Northern Canada
A healthy start in the critical ‘first 1000 days’ - from conception to a child’s second birthday - is very important for a mother and her child, and has a lasting impact on the wellbeing of individuals, families, and entire communities. The communities and healthcare professionals of Yellowknife, Inuvik, and Fort Good Hope in the Northwest Territories have partnered with the Indigenous and Global Health Research Group at the University of Alberta to develop an evidence-based program to improve maternal and infant health.
This project was planned in partnership with communities and local governance organizations including the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nihtat Gwich’in Council, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services, and the Hotıì ts'eeda Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit. The study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Together, the project team is working to:
1) Collect evidence through one-on-one interviews with IW residing in Yellowknife (n=177), Inuvik (n=75) and FGH (n=28), who are currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 3 years (total n=280 women), regarding the availability, utilization, knowledge of, and experiences with maternal healthcare services during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum, as well as home-based practices including infant feeding.
2) Facilitate In-depth Interviews with healthcare providers and community leaders to identify barriers to, and opportunities for, improving access to services and maternal and infant health overall.
3) Synthesize these quantitative and qualitative data and present findings to the communities through sharing circles with men and women. The communities will lead the team in identifying priority areas that support maternal and infant health (1 per community; total=3 sharing circles).
4) Develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based, sustainable, and community-driven intervention and support the community to improve maternal and infant health.
5) Disseminate final materials and the findings to the community, territorial, and national organizations involved in maternal health policies, programs, and service delivery and all stakeholders responsible for maternal and infant healthcare services.