Kinngait’s new health centre opened its doors to patients on Aug. 3, and on Sept. 7 there was a special celebration where a number of Nunavut’s ministers and community members took part in the opening ceremonies of the new facility.

The new 1,792 square meter, $33-million building boasts dental, emergency, x-ray, prenatal and mental healthcare facilities, along with improved clinic space in comparison to the old health centre, which was built back in 1982. It was built by the department of community and government services.

When it comes to providing healthcare services to Kinngarmiut, it is “much easier” in comparison to the old health centre, says Michael Blake, nurse-in-charge at the Kinngait Health Centre, while giving a tour of the new facility.

It was built with Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge in mind, according to health centre staff, featuring large open spaces and plenty of windows.

Included among the expanded facilities are prenatal/obstetric emergency care, mental health, additional dental space, pharmaceutical and emergency services.

The expanded emergency services include a new ambulance service, a welcome change to the community according to Kinngait resident Olayou Charlie.

New “calming rooms”, designed as a therapeutic space for clients who may feel overwhelmed or agitated are among the new mental health spaces for the residents of Kinngait.

“We have two beautiful (new) dental clinics, which is a whole lot better than the closet we had back at the elementary school,” said Blake.

There is room to grow in this new building, as it was “built for future needs”, according to Kinngait mayor Timoon Toonoo, who says, “it’s a lot more than we need right now. We will have good services for a long time.”

The inclusion of additional work spaces within the new health centre leave the path open for additional treatments, for example rehab therapy or dental health clinic services to residents, when the appropriate staff is available.

South Baffin MLA and education minister David Joanasie, whose home community is Kinngait, echoed the sentiment that Kinngait is a fast-growing community and needs the additional space.

“Looking at the community’s size, there’s a lot of growth happening … I think the health centre’s size will be a great complement to support that,” he said.

The opening ceremonies took place at Kinngait’s community hall, where there was a ceremonial qulliq lighting and speeches by the mayor and visiting ministers.

“I am proud of the role the Department of Community Government Services has had in the planning, design and construction of this outstanding health care facility. This is much needed critical infrastructure in the community,” said Jeannie Ehaloak, minister of community and government services.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the health centre, a community lunch was held back at the hall.

“This new facility demonstrates our government’s commitment to delivering high quality health services to Nunavummiut across the territory,” said health minister Lorne Kusugak.

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