Lytton First Nation celebrates Grand Opening of Health Centre

On Friday, Oct. 30, Lytton First Nation proudly celebrated the Grand Opening of the Tl’Kemtsin Community Health Centre. 

The new building houses a one-stop centre for all health-related resources for Lytton First Nations Band members, and the community at large. The single-story building has office space for current services, and for visiting professionals.

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The planning committee has consulted with vision specialists, podiatrists, dental health workers, and continues to work to create opportunities for health professionals to provide services to Lytton First Nations Membership and other Lytton residents. The Centre includes a space for the Community Nurse, currently located on Main Street, dental services and Children’s Oral Health, and the building concept is to promote ongoing future developments in health.

LFN Chief Janet Webster and Nlhakapmux Nation Tribal Council Administrator Deb Abbott joined Master of Ceremonies Dr. Rosalin Miles in a Swearing –in Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting at the new building site. Guests were welcomed to tour the facilities, and were then asked to adjourn to the Stein Valley Nlhakapmux School for a catered lunch, and presentations.

Honoured guests included representatives from Interior Health Authority, Highland Valley, First Nations Health Authority, Unison Architect, and Preview Builders as well as Lytton First Nations Chief and Council, Members of the Lytton First Nation, Community schools, and the Mayor of Lytton. The presentations ended with the LFN health team led by Program Director Virginia Peters, acknowledging the work of Chief Janet and honouring her with a Pendleton blanket in recognition for her support and determination to make this project become a reality.

Project supervisor Dr. Rosalin Miles was very excited to share that the committee has successfully contracted Dr. Gurdeep Dang to be the new resident full-time dentist.

New to Lytton, but not to dentistry, Dr. Dang has been a dentist for more than 40 years. Having sold his private practice in Quebec, he wanted to stay in touch with the profession and give back to under-served populations. This position seemed like a perfect fit.

In a statement in the band newsletter, Dr. Dang states, “I hope I will be able to live up to the expectations. Thank you to all the people who put in efforts for this project making this vision a reality. Bravo.”

The Lytton First Nations Health office will start taking appointments from Nov. 12; interested clients are asked to call Kassandra Phillips at 250-455-2115 to book appointments. 

The clinic will offer a full range of dental services, including denture work. The new centre will have state of the art equipment to provide the highest level of dental services including early screening/detection of oral cancer and sedation. This includes alternative ways to relax kids and very fearful adults. The dental team will have a certified dental assistant and a dental hygienist.

The team is dedicated to active promotion of preventative dentistry for kids through school activities. Gum disease and tobacco-related issues will be high on the agenda. Dr. Dang ended his message to community members by saying, “I would like to acknowledge my personal thanks to Chief Janet Webster for her whole-hearted support of the project, and Dr. Rosalin Miles for accommodating so many of my recommendations for the set up. Thank you all!”

Having services and personnel who are currently located in a variety of spaces on the reserve and in town all under one roof will promote collaborative communication, improved practice and service delivery to all concerned. It is hoped that this kind of central service delivery will address both the lack of funding for medical transport, and the need for local services. 

The health team asked that the following information be shared with the community:

“We are inviting Lytton Community Members to bring a river rock to add to the circular drainage pond in front of the new Lytton Health Centre, which we will name the ‘All My Relations’ Pond. We want the pond to be representative of our people and community, and so we would like to ask people to write family or friends’ names on the rocks to honour them. Rocks can be placed in the pond at your leisure. We so look forward to the beautiful pond filled with all our relations!”

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