Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called on health minister Edwin Poots to explore all possible funding avenues to tackle health inequalities in rural communities.
The East Antrim MLA said;
"Poverty and isolation are real problems for people living in rural communities.
"Difficulties in accessing services and transport problems have created very worrying health inequalities in rural areas.
"Recently my party colleague, agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill, made £80 million available for rural development projects and this is to be welcomed.
"But more must be done to assist rural communities and I am calling on health minister Edwin Poots to put a specific focus on combating health inequalities in rural communities.
"Mr Poots recently said he was willing to identify new funding sources for the 'Making Life Better 2013-23'. That should include European and all-Ireland funding streams. It should also involve partnership applications with community groups and sporting organisations.
"I have written to a wide range of community organisations active in rural areas to make them aware of the additional money allocated by Michelle O'Neill for the Rural Development Programme.
"I would call on Edwin Poots to engage with these groups in a similar way to make the most of all funding opportunities in order to improve the quality of life for people in rural communities."