The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and B.C. Association of Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) have announced a shared $360,000 to help fund doula services for First Nations and Aboriginal families in B.C.
The grant funding will support to pay for prenatal, birth and postpartum doula services.
A doula provides emotional, physical and spiritual support for families before, during and after birth.
These services are not currently covered through the public health care system.
Caroline Bird, supervisor of the Maternal Child Health Program at Nak’azdli Health Centre in Fort St. James will be one of two employees from the centre who will be receiving doula training in November in Burnaby, B.C.
“It’s very exciting. Our moms are younger and they need support,” Bird said. “We need to get rid of the old train of thought and be able to offer the support they need. It’s so important,” she said.
Alexander Erickson, maternal child health home visitor at the health centre, will also be receiving doula training.
“I’m looking forward to giving encouragement to men specifically. I know from my own experience during pregnancy, it was so female based. I hope that I can give support to men also so that they will then be able to better support their spouses through pregnancy,” Erickson said.
For more information regarding the initiative you can call 1-800-990-2432 or if interested in local doula services call the Nak’azdli Health centre at: (250)996-7400.