The Integrated Pregnancy Program (IPP) at Meno Ya Win Health Centre supports the pregnancy care, postpartum care and also family planning for the community of Sioux Lookout and surrounding 28 First Nations Communities. Approximately 420 babies are delivered each year, many of which are complicated by higher risk concerns such as diabetes, hypertension or opioid use disorder. We have a strong, vibrant and resilient group of patients. Many women patients have a history of trauma, abuse and addiction. Approximately 30-40% women use opioids, which complicates the pregnancy and neonatal course. IPP staff manage neonatal abstinence syndrome by supporting breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care and empowering the mother to care for her baby well.
The IPP is family oriented and we have a patient centered approach; we also run a partner program where we provide our patients’ partners with addiction care when necessary. For Northern mothers, efforts are made to ensure families stay together while they wait the final weeks of their pregnancy. IPP advocates that all women have an escort travel with them for appointments and delivery, and a Patient Navigator staff helps supports families through challenges related to housing, food security, paperwork, or other advocacy issues. IPP is connected with the Mental Health and Addictions program at Meno Ya Win, so that counselling is readily available when desired. Our hospital’s diabetes team, including diabetes educators and dieticians, is closely connected with the IPP and provide continuity of care for our diabetic patients.
Meno Ya Win Hospital further connects both local and northern mothers with community partners like the Sioux Lookout Sunset Women’s Aboriginal Circle which offers several parent-child programs. The Pre and Postnatal Support Program provides supports and services to help families improve maternal and infant nutritional health by focusing on maternal nourishment, nutrition and breastfeeding. The Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program a parenting support program and promotes healthy child development.
The Nishnawbe-Gamik Native Friendship Centre in Sioux Lookout also provides family access to The Aboriginal Family Support program designed to promote the healthy development of children aged 0-6 years and their families. The program functions as a one-stop centre providing culturally appropriate support to families in the area of child health and development, positive parenting, promoting and building life skills and providing access to information, resources and referrals to additional support services, with an overall goal to promote the health and well-being of Aboriginal families in Sioux Lookout and surrounding area.
True North Aid, Hands for Heart and the Indigenous family support programs in Sioux Lookout are collaborating to establish “Maamiikiwe” [maa-mee-ki-way]. Translated from Ojibway this means “gives gifts away.” This partnership aims to connect essential maternal, infant and children’s items with mothers and families in need. Donated items like diapers, wipes, bottles, clothing and blankets, along with special hand knit hats, sweaters and bottles will be accessible for families through The Aboriginal Family Support program, Healthy Babies, Healthy Children and the Pre and Postnatal Support Program.
Halfway between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, north of the Trans-Canada Highway, Sioux Lookout sits nestled on the lakeshores of Pelican, Abram and Lac Seul with the rugged Canadian Shield as the backdrop. Its population is over 5,300 residents and has been declared as the “Hub of the North”, providing essential services to 30,000 people in 29 remote First Nation communities.