Collaborative community health plan launched

GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY, N.S. – The community health boards representing Antigonish Town and County, Guysborough and Strait Richmond released their Collaborative Community Health Plan, outlining four priority areas identified by their communities after extensive community engagement.

The plan represents years of work in the communities and identifies the following four community health priority areas: poverty, early childhood development, food security, and social inclusion.

The boards officially launched their collaborative plan October 2 at East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy.

“We thank the East Antigonish Education Centre for hosting us,” said Dorothy Barnard, chair of the Strait Richmond Community Health Board. “The location emphasized the importance of early childhood development, which is one of our priorities.”

The document also identifies potential partners to assist in implementing the plan, areas where more focus is needed and actions that may be appropriate and effective to improve community health. It also identifies activities for community health boards to take a lead role. Several groups and agencies turned out for the launch today, including representatives from school boards, primary health care, municipal bodies and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

“We are a volunteer group and we depend on partners to make this happen,” said Philip Girvan, chair of the Antigonish and County Community Health Board. “This thing can’t work without strong collaboration.”

Mary Desmond, chair of Guysborough Community Health Board said the official launch of the plan means the start of working to implement some of the actions identified within the document.

“The plan is a first positive step,” she said. “I was quite pleased with the partners that came out today and their enthusiasm for our plan.”

The community health boards will be holding several events throughout the next several weeks and months to promote the plan and develop stronger partnerships within their individual communities, including scheduled meetings with elected municipal bodies.

The Antigonish Town and County board is planning a local launch and is inviting the public to a community health board open house on Tuesday, October 17 from 4-7p.m. at the Antigonish Public Library – Community Room. There will also be displays from many area community groups that are working on the priorities identified in the health plan.

“Our goal is to engage community members to further guide and assist us to move forward,” Girvan said.

Community Health Boards are a committed group of volunteers that support the work of the Nova Scotia Health Authority by advising on local perspectives, trends, issues, and priorities. There are 37 community health boards across Nova Scotia.

The community health plan can be found on the Community Health Boards website at https://www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/chb-health-plans, under the Eastern Zone.