A doctor with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Canada says he is disappointed the federal government has cut programs dedicated to improving Aboriginal health across Canada.

Dr. Don Wilson says the cuts will affect some of the only programs in the country that were examining best practices and guidance provisions for First Nations and Metis health.

Wilson says the cancellation of funding to the National Aboriginal Health Organization, which has only been operating for 12 years, is especially tough to swallow:

“And we were finally getting to see some critical mass of research come out of the organization.  We were seeing some excellent networking.  We were starting to see that what should have been a long-term proposition was finally beginning to bear fruit, and all of a sudden, the tree was chopped down.”

He says many of the programs that were cut were the only truly national in-scope programs dedicated to First Nations and Metis health.

Wilson feels Aboriginal women stand to lose out, in particular, because First Nations, Inuit and Metis women experience higher rates of serious conditions like cervical cancer, STDs and HIV/AIDS.

He also says suicide prevention counselling is another example of programming that will be affected.

The society says that while the federal government has announced its focus for Aboriginal health will be on front-line services, it shouldn’t come at the expense of prevention programs.