Tribes discuss healthcare at White House summit

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RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) – The White House hosted the first tribal nations summit since 2016.

A big topic of discussion at the summit was health.

The Biden administration is taking action to strengthen relations between the United States and Indigenous tribes. Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said tribal lands were continually underfunded by the federal government.

One area of ​​inadequate funding is Indigenous health, an issue that Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board CEO Jerilyn Church says needs to be addressed in the future.

“We hope that what follows is an understanding of the unique challenges of providing health care in rural and border areas, such as our reservations across the Great Plains,” Church said.

While COVID-19 has affected everyone, it has hit indigenous reservations particularly hard, and tribal governments say there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic.

Church said the biggest problems tribal health care providers currently face are reluctance to vaccinate and tackle misinformation.

“A lot of people think the vaccine only appeared when COVID hit our country when in reality the vaccine had been researched years before, which led to its development. “

Church said India’s health services made it a priority to get the vaccine in places where it was difficult to get hold of.

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