All Nations’ Healing Hospital received mask donations from Fort Qu’Appelle residents to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. FHQTC photo.

Qu’Appelle Valley residents join All Nations’ Healing Hospital to fight COVID-19

by Dorothy Baadi

Residents of Fort Qu’Appelle and surrounding First Nations all came together to show love for the community and help the All Nations’ Healing Hospital fight the spread of COVID-19 by donating hundreds of hand-sewn masks following requests for donations by the hospital.

“What we had was the masks for the staff… the surgical masks were here, but we had a limited amount of them and what we were seeing at that time, was some crazy pricing for them – both nationally and internationally,” said Gail Boehme, the hospital’s executive director.

She added, “We couldn’t give every client that came in the masks and ask them to use it again and again and again, as that’s not ethical and it is not safe.”

The hospital operates several day clinics, including a women’s health centre, the Pasikow Muskwa/Rising Bear Healing Centre for kidney care, an HIV-AIDS clinic and addictions services.  

The hundreds of hand sewn masks received allowed them to distribute among clinic visitors allowing for reuse inside and outside of the hospital.

Noticing the masks were also being used to visit local businesses, the hospital asked stores to make masks for the hospital to distribute, “and they did and it was amazing.”

“If they came into our hospital, (patients) were able to use that mask. They were able to go to their clinic visit, and many people have regular blood work for example. So they were able to reuse, go home, wash it, reuse it, and come back for their blood work the next day and reuse that particular mask,” said Boehme.

This has been very impactful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the community and also in keeping the hospital open and accessible to the public.

“We continue to see the public step up.” – Gail Boehme, All Nations’ Healing Hospital

In addition to the mask donations, some members of the community also assisted in controlling incoming and outgoing traffic to the hospital, and also ensured that hospital visitors completed the COVID-19 screening before every visit.

“We continue to see the public step up when we reach out… We had people monitoring our doors, making sure people would do the screening when they come through…That kind of work now, we have somebody hired to do that but we had the public initially and it worked out well,” said Boehme, when explaining the different ways the public stepped up to aid the hospital.

“Our hospital is directed by the community and when they tell us this is how it would work best for us, we want to be able to respond to their needs,” she said. This explains why the hospital took a community-based approach allowing them the ability to tend to the needs of the community and serve them better.

Having this type of collaboration with members of the community was different from what was seen in mainstream, as the choice to come into the hospital clinics was left with the clients and not the hospital.

Gail Boehme and staff express their gratitude and appreciation for the donations and assistance they received from the public.

“At this point we don’t have any urgent or outstanding needs but just a gratefulness from the organization for how people really did step forward and say, ‘What can we do?’ – and they did!”