September 24, 2018

$600,000 In Annual Funding For Sanctum 1.5 To Improve Health Outcomes For Pregnant Women Living With HIV And Substance Abuse Issues

Pregnant women living with HIV and substance abuse issues now have an enhanced suite of supports available through Sanctum 1.5, a 10-unit supportive housing facility in Saskatoon.

Health Minister Jim Reiter and Social Services Minister Paul Merriman joined project partners and local representatives for the grand opening today.

“Substance abuse and HIV are often the product of complex social factors,” Reiter said.  “Sanctum 1.5 will help women facing these challenges ensure a better future for themselves and for their children by providing the support they need throughout the course of their pregnancy.”

Sanctum 1.5 will provide prenatal care, opioid substitution therapy, parenting classes, social supports, and assistance with connecting to health and addictions services in order to prevent the transmission of HIV, improve health outcomes for women and their children, and keep families together.

The province is providing $600,000 in annual funding through the Ministries of Health and Social Services to support the operations of Sanctum 1.5.

“Our government is pleased to help Sanctum 1.5 carry out its important work in this community,” Merriman said.  “These young mothers and their children will be able to live comfortably in safe, quality homes and, most importantly, receive the supports they need to move forward.”

Services at Sanctum 1.5 are provided by Sanctum Care Group, a community-based organization that works with people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health issues, poverty, and homelessness.

“Sanctum 1.5 is the first of its kind in Canada,” Sanctum Care Group Inc. Executive Director and co-founder Katelyn Roberts said.  “It is an innovative model created in response to the unique needs of women in this community.  It’s about changing the way we respond to the most vulnerable, creating services and supports that simultaneously adress the medical and psychosocial needs of the clients we serve while also eliminating the systematic barriers that perpetuate inequality in this community.”

“Proper prenatal care is vitally important for any expectant mother but for high risk, HIV positive pregnant women, it can be incredibly challenging to seek out the support they require,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Vice President of Provincial Programs Corey Miller said.  “That’s why we are proud to work in partnership with the Sanctum Care Group to support these mothers with the care and dignity they deserve.”

The Government of Saskatchewan’s investment in Sanctum 1.5 builds on new initiatives announced in the 2018-19 Budget, including universal coverage for HIV medications, $50,000 for AIDS Saskatoon and $50,000 for Saskatoon’s Westside Clinic to provide additional HIV supports.

In total, the province provides nearly $5 million for HIV programs and initiatives each year, with a focus on testing, treatment, and prevention.