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Canadian Nurses Association applauds emphasis on leadership and equity in Health Council of Canada report

Ottawa, September 19, 2013 The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) celebrates today’s release of the report from the Health Council of Canada (HCC), Better Health, Better Care, Better Value for All: Refocusing Health Care Reform in Canada. As the end of the 2004 health accord approaches, CNA applauds the report for capturing the urgency of moving health-care transformation into action, reinforcing the need for setting targets that will lead to better health, and encouraging the federal government, the provinces and territories, and health providers to rally around them.

“The Health Council of Canada report is a must read for all Canadians and especially for government and policy leaders,” said CNA president Barb Mildon. “The report’s emphasis on equity as an especially important driver of health across populations and the emphasis on leadership as an enabler of health-care transformation are worth noting. All of us though — health providers, government, educators, employers and Canadians alike — need to devote our collective efforts to establishing and achieving a clear vision of the health-care system we want to build and the health status we want to see for our population and for ourselves.”

The HCC report calls for a vision that must be supported by balanced goals. CNA recently hosted a national consensus conference with 32 experts from across the health system. CNA’s report on the conference — Canada’s Top 5 in 5: Building National Consensus on Priority Health-Improvement Indicators [PDF, 1.8 MB] — names five priority goals that the entire group agreed would have a substantial impact on Canadians’ health and the cost and performance of the health system.

For example, one of the five goals is to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity in Canada. With 29 per cent of children aged 12-17 overweight or obese, we rank 21st out of 29 mid- and high-income countries. This goal is an important priority because:

  • Childhood obesity is considered a risk factor for future obesity and disability, as well as premature death.
  • Being overweight and obese is the fifth leading risk factor for global deaths.
  • Worldwide in 2011, about 40 million children younger than five years were overweight.
  • The problem of overweight children is not limited to high-income countries only. About three-quarters are living in developing countries, and 10 million in developed countries.
  • Obesity is a modifiable risk factor for several chronic diseases.
Provincial/territorial ministers are setting aspirational targets for the reduction of childhood obesity, so focusing on goals that are balanced and appropriately targeted is crucial — perhaps now more than ever. “CNA is no stranger to the notion that equity is foundational to health status,” emphasized Mildon. “As the HCC report demonstrates, Canadians expect their health-care system to provide high-quality, equitable care, regardless of where they live. Moving forward, bold leadership and collaboration of all stakeholders is needed to make a meaningful improvements to health.”

Read the complete list of goals and learn more about CNA’s Top 5 in 5 initiative.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing nearly 150,000 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

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For more information, please contact:

Denise Rideout, Internal Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 558
E-mail: drideout@cna-aiic.ca