B.C.’s health officer releases annual report on health targets

B.C. doing well reducing diabetes and Hep C, but needs to improve on mental health, infant mortality

A report by B.C.’s health officer says the province is falling behind in supporting mental health and reducing infant mortality rates.

The 244-page report released Friday by Dr. Bonnie Henry gauges how B.C. is meeting seven health targets set for 2023, outlined in a 2013 health report called Promote, protect, prevent: Our Health Begins Here.

The targets include healthy living, maternal and child health, mental health and substance use, disease prevention, injury prevention, environmental health, and response to public health emergencies.

Each category is analyzed by age, sex and health authority, excluding the First Nations Health Authority. The data is based on information collected in 2013 and 2014.

“Good health leads to improved productivity, better futures and stronger communities,” said Henry at a news conference at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. “There’s much to be optimistic about in this report, but the good health we enjoy in British Columbia is not enjoyed equally.”

B.C. aims for 80 per cent of its residents 12 years and older to report good mental health. Since 2005, the rate has decreased to 68.4 per cent in 2013 – the latest figures available.

Henry’s report points to the opioid crisis and its impacts on mental health and death rates. Death due to preventable causes is nearly double for men than women, but that does not factor in 2016-to-18 death rates due to overdoses.

Prevention of infant mortality is also set to not meet 2023 targets.

In 2016, 153 infants died in their first year of life – a rate of 3.4 per 1,000 live births. The rate has slid overall since 2001, although not yet enough to meet the 2023 target of 2.5 per 1,000 live births.

Infant mortality can result from a number of different causes, including perinatal conditions, congenital anomalies and respiratory and infectious diseases. Improving sanitation, nutrition and education has also led to reductions over time.

Henry identified problem areas such as the gap in life expectancy between communities, early child development performance, fruit and vegetable consumption, children learning to stay healthy in school, and hazardous drinking.

Her report describes some headway, specifically within reducing diabetes cases.

“This is really a success story for B.C.,” Henry said. “There’s a lot of effort in identifying people with diabetes, providing wraparound care, and prevention methods.”

Other positives included fewer women smoking during pregnancy and lowering Hepatitis C rates.

The report outlines seven recommendations to meet the 2023 targets, centering around improving equal health supports across the province.

Henry proposes assessing all new policies implemented by the B.C. government for their health and equity impacts, as well as developing a health promotion strategy that supports all sex-and-gender-specific needs.

Other recommendations include increasing the focus on injury prevention to rural and remote areas, and establishing more regular and ongoing reporting by heath authorities.

“Things like poverty reduction, addressing homelessness, improving childcare, and action on climate change – these are measures that all support better health for the whole population in B.C. and address some of the inequities and differences we are seeing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink stresses pipeline ‘on a schedule’ as B.C. appoints liaison for Wet’suwet’en

670-kilometre pipeline is schedule to be completed by end of 2023

Jonathan Dieleman announces his retirement from competitive swimming

The Bulkey Valley paralympic swimmer made the announcement early Monday morning.

Witset chosen for housing innovation funding program

Proposal to build healing lodge for at-risk youth one of four selected in B.C.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and hereditary chiefs agree to future meeting

Scott Fraser was in Smithers on Jan. 22 and spoke with Office of the Wet’suwet’en representatives

Unist’ot’en Camp say RCMP have changed 27 kilometre roadblock rules

Footage shows RCMP telling an unidentified lawyer they can’t re-enter the checkpoint

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read