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The BCWI is an educational organization for women and families since 1897, and active in BC since 1909.

The 1962 Health Brief, Part 2

The first column dedicated to the BRIEF PRESENTED TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HEALTH SERVICES, as prepared by the British Columbia Women’s Institute appeared on the organization’s website this past January. In this column, we will examine other points that were addressed, and how they have been addressed in the years since 1962.

Some of the issues which were mentioned in this brief are still with us today – probably addressed to some degree, but still needing more funding, or planning. One such issue as cited in Point 7: In rural areas, housing for the healthy aged is seldom a problem, but the  provision of good Home Care Service for these people is greatly needed and nursing home beds, in their own environment, are needed for those who develop into chronic cases and who cannot be looked after at home.

It does not seem to matter what area of our province this matter is raised in, the community response is very much the same: We need more beds, more facilities. As the life expectancy for seniors climbs, so do the numbers of citizens who require assisted living. In some areas, the balance of nursing home beds available to the list of those patients on the wait list is at a manageable, if not fully acceptable, ratio. But we hear of some patients waiting for months for the call that tells them a bed is ready for them! Such a wait can be difficult  for the patient, as well as for those loved ones who struggle to give them the necessary care, as best they can, at home.

One area that the Brief cited was Cancer Control and Treatment. Perhaps here we have made greater strides than in some other areas. With the expansion of Cancer Clinics to more British Columbia cities, more patients are being treated closer to their homes, but what about the patients from the more remote areas? Is there still a problem there – if so, is this something we should be pushing for?

The final point I would like to address is immunization:  At the time this brief was prepared, the authors wrote: The Immunization programme in this province seems to be well in hand. Our Public Health Units and Public Health Nurses are to be commended on their work in this field. Since naturally acquired immunity is practically a thing of the past, there should be no slacking, but rather more vigilance in this field.

 In recent years there has been a push by special interest groups to encourage parents to reconsider having their children immunized. Now, slowly that thinking is being questioned more and more. Here, is more vigilance on our part required? Our children are the citizens and leaders of tomorrow – surely anything that can be done to promote better health for them, not only in childhood, but throughout their life span should be continued –  so said Women’s Institutes in 1962, and I believe this is still true.

The Women’s Institutes everywhere, not just in British Columbia or Canada, but world wide have promoted better health care, upgraded nutrition, higher hygiene standards and improved conditions for children and families. Great strides have been made here at home, and throughout the Third World where the Associated Country Women of the World, in cooperation with the United Nations, have financed and operated improvements for villagers and town people alike. To each of you who have supported these activities, Congratulations! And keep up the good work – the world and it’s children need all of us!

Yours For Home and Country, Ruth Fenner, Provincial Historian, British Columbia Women’s Institutes

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