Last week, we had a chance to talk with Dr. Terri Aldred, an outreach primary doctor with Carrier Sekani Family Services and Site Director for UBC’s Indigenous Family Practice Program, about the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Aldred spoke about steps that CSFS is taking to keep people safe, Indigenous responses to the pandemic, and ways people and communities can stay healthy.
With communities self-isolating and some restricting access, CSFS is now offering virtual care and telehealth to clients. The 10 CSFS doctors are also working with regional COVID-19 testing facilities for symptomatic patients.
In addition to taking the necessary sanitary measures such as staying home when possible and washing your hands for 20 seconds, Dr. Aldred stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy mind and spirit to get through this time. For example, although community members are not currently able to gather, Dr. Aldred encourages people to continue engaging in spiritual and cultural practices. Some of her suggestions include practicing traditional medicine, reaching out to people via text or phone, and nourishing and moving your body.
Given the history of epidemics and government restrictions in Indigenous communities, it also needs to be acknowledged that the current situation can be triggering. In response to those feeling triggered, Dr. Aldred explains that it is important to "remember that it is ok not to be ok." See the complete interview below.
A special thanks to Dr. Aldred for taking time for this interview, as well as for her hard work and dedication to keeping people safe in this difficult time.
For more information about how Indigenous communities and people can stay safe, visit the First Nations' Health Authority website's COVID-19 portal.