Survey to help fill in where the health gaps are

Our Cowichan-Communities Health Network needs the help of Cowichan Valley residents to fill in the gaps about what they know about people’s health.

To that end, they are asking everyone to fill out a survey by April 25.

Responses will be anonymous, but the information gathered is critical, said the Network’s Cindy Lise, in figuring out where health in Cowichan is good, and where improvement is needed, as well as how the community might go about achieving that improvement.

"As a community, if there are areas that are identified as problematic, then we can begin to look at them collectively," said Lise.

"We can draw attention to areas where we may not be aware of issues that are impacting health, but also where we can really celebrate our strengths."

The survey is part of a larger project the Network has undertaken to create a health profile for the region. This profile can then be used to work on how to make community residents’ lives better.

"It’s also really important that the individual citizens understand that health is more than health services," said Lise. "Health services is really only 20 per cent of how healthy we are."

A big part of the Network’s message is identifying all the different areas in people’s lives and in the community that influence a person’s health.

There are 12 determinants of health that are the basis of their work.

These include things like employment and working conditions, physical environment, social environment, social support networks, income and social status, culture, gender, education and literacy and more.

"This project that we’re doing is one that looks at all of those elements beyond just how many doctors we have or how often we go to the hospital," Lise said.

Besides the survey, information is being gathered from Statistics Canada, local health areas, Early Development Instrument, school districts, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Social Planning Cowichan and a number of other local organizations.

There will also be community consultations and interviews.

Once the information is gathered a wide range of issues can be addressed, from things like safe streets to wood smoke and neighbourhood impediments to exercise.

Find the survey at health profile will be completed by the end of May and will be available on Our Cowichan’s website