22 First Nations will now have pharmacy support

Muskehki Pharmacy Distributors LP (Muskehki Pharmacy) announced on July 20 that the company was awarded with a one-year contract by Health Canada to provide pharmacy support services, as well as medical supplies to 22 northern Manitoba First Nations. Starting in August, Muskehki Pharmacy will provide these standard medical needs to nursing stations.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper says this has been a long time coming and he is excited for the opportunity it will bring. “It opens up the doors for more pharmacists and for more work. At the end of the day someone has to deliver the medicine, someone has to be at the counter, educating the First Nations. This is what is key for the whole process. It’s run and owned by First Nations.”

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Harper continued by saying that it’s been a group effort from all chiefs.

Muskehki Pharmacy is a health partnership owned by Wabung Developments Ltd, the economic development entity of the MKO and North West Company Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Winnipeg-based The North West Company Inc.

President of Wabung Developments and Muskehki Pharmacy, Chief Irvin Sinclair says the contract is for one year because it’s a probation period, but hopes the contract gets pushed to the maximum length of three years. “This is a probationary period and we want to show how competent we are and professionalism that is requires. We are more than equipped and ready to take this program on, and show Health Canada that we are more than capable of handling our own affairs.

Derek Reimer, director of business development for Muskehki Pharmacy and North West, noted that the partnership with MKO started in 2010.“Basically the partnership relates to health businesses and our focus primarily was on trying to secure the pharmacy contract for Northern Manitoba nursing stations.”

Reimer finished off by saying this partnership will help everyone involved focus on employment, training and capacity-building for First Nation communities.

Harper hopes with starting this partnership other communities in Ontario and Saskatchewan will see the success, and achieve something along the same lines in their communities.

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