The Government of Northwest Territories' medical travel program estimates that 30% of care is provided out-of-territory, with the majority provided in Edmonton, Alberta. Out-of-territory medical travel comprises a small percentage of the total care provided, but it can be physically, financially and emotionally challenging for patients, families and communities, and it comes with a significant public sector cost. Medical travel includes airfare, accommodations, escorts and navigation support, but research has identified several significant barriers and gaps that make accessing quality healthcare a challenge for medical travelers (Kerber et al, BMJ Open, 2019). This critical research identified some of the steps required to improve the experience of care in Edmonton. One of the opportunities outlined included ensuring an advocate is available to assist with appointments and support northerners and their families in navigating the complexities of the healthcare system.
Acting as a bridge between cultures, places, and services, Goba is uniquely situated to provide individuals, families, and communities with the support they need at a crucial time in their healthcare journeys.
Goba operates as a non-profit organization funded through grants and individual donations. The three main areas of work of Goba include:
1. Advocacy and navigation of the healthcare system alongside northern patients
2. Connecting northern patients to existing cultural resources
3. Educating managers and healthcare providers
Hotii ts'eeda is pleased to support the Goba project from Fort Good Hope's Melinda Laboucan.