The Grand Bend Area Community Health Centre (GBACHC) is recognizing Community Health and Wellbeing Week (CHWW) in Ontario to highlight and celebrate accomplishments in achieving the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone living in the area. Especially during a pandemic, CHWW is a time to focus on breaking down barriers to primary and allied health care, and health programming, including to community members who are experiencing marginalization.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, the GBACHC has been addressing barriers to optimal health and wellbeing from systemic racism, poverty, food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, social isolation, and lack of access to the internet. Specifically, the GBACHC shifted from in-person care and programs to virtual platforms, opened a COVID-19 Assessment Centre and provided COVID-19 testing to migrant workers on area farms, formed a community pandemic support group, and continues to provide COVID-19 vaccinations when supply permits.
The GBACHC continues to focus on eliminating the conditions that cause health disparities for community members. By surveying patients/clients, the GBACHC learned that the pandemic has affected all ages from the very young to seniors. Women have been impacted by the highest rates of joblessness and the extra burden of childcare. Access to digital and virtual platforms have been very difficult for many people. Availability of affordable healthy foods has been challenging. And isolation and loneliness are at an all-time high.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that economic and societal systems leave many people behind. There is a lot more work to be done to build equitable futures for all. As Ontario moves towards reopening, the GBACHC will continue to advocate for marginalized people living in the Grand Bend area.
The GBACHC is a member of the Alliance for Healthier Communities (Alliance), a vibrant network of over 100 community-governed primary health care organizations across the province. Together with the Alliance, the GBACHC recognizes the importance of locally driven community health improvements. Interested in joining the movement? Community partners are invited to become a Community Health Equity Builder. Click the button below to learn more!