Letter: A message from the Manitoulin Island Health Care Collaborative

Dear Editor:

The Manitoulin Island Health Care Collaborative (MIHCC) represents the co-operative efforts of both provincial and First Nation health agencies and organizations serving the health of each individual on Mnidoo Mnising. From mental health to hospital services, from birth to nursing homes, we are here to serve. We gather across our individual sectors and disciplines to problem solve, take action and re-evaluate; tirelessly tethering together services amidst an ever-evolving health landscape. 

Your health as an individual is determined by many things. Your actions, behaviours and genetics play a role but equally, health is influenced by factors like education, economic stability, environment and health system accessibility. 

There are many ways that you as an individual can be part of the solution. In this time of great need for so many, reflect on your actions as an individual. Hand washing and social distancing can’t be stressed enough. Messages of positivity, helping gestures and a personal commitment to unity, empathy and understanding can advance our overall position through this pandemic. Our worries, stresses and personal or community circumstances are very real challenges. They can also distract us and derail our focus. Respect for one another allows us to express our passion for this crucial daily work. Know that our current truth, humanity versus a virus, is a focal point of our efforts. 

We have not seen a global threat of this nature in our lifetimes. Our ability to respond as health organizations is interwoven with our ability to communicate efficiently. This responsiveness is influenced by national, provincial, municipal and First Nation leadership. We respect that community leaders are forced to weigh heavy decisions that affect us all. Deliberations around schools, businesses, travel and the economy are not easy considering the current host of unknowns. We call on these leaders to continue to work together, using reliable health information to inform their challenging decisions. 

Our Island is a summertime paradise and to our seasonal visitors we extend our thanks for considering us your second home. Our interconnectedness as organizations is a reflection of our connectedness as communities. We spend considerable effort through the best of times working together to make health systems work. This is not the best of times. With your co-operation those times will return—when they do, so should you. 

Lastly, we want to acknowledge the work and the exceptional expression of Manitoulin’s health staff’s commitment. Our respective teams have stepped up to the variety of challenges in so many ways. Island health professionals have embraced the duty to care within their current roles while many have adapted to the new challenges by supporting decision-makers, enhancing our overall readiness.

We thank you.

Miigwetch,

Manitoulin Island Health Care Collaborative