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Inuit join MPs, Medical Community to say “Stop TB in My Lifetime”

Media Release

March 15, 2012 – Ottawa, Ontario – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, together with the Stop TB Partnership and Members of Parliament from all major parties, introduced a global campaign on Parliament Hill today to call for an end to this curable, preventable disease.

The goals of Stop TB (Taima TB in the Inuit language) are faster treatment; a quick, cheap, low-tech diagnostic test; an effective vaccine; and, ultimately, a world free of TB. The slogan for World TB Day 2012, which takes place March 24, is “Stop TB in my lifetime.”

In Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada, the message is more direct: “Get tested, get treated before you get sick.” In much of Canada the TB rate is low – even on the decline. But among Inuit it is consistently high, mainly due to significant health and social disparities.“Effectively treating TB means addressing the medical aspects of the disease as well as the social aspects,” said Udloriak Hanson, Executive Director of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national organization representing the country’s 55,000 Inuit. “It means addressing situations of overcrowded housing, poor ventilation and inadequate access to health care.”

To put things in perspective, TB has been nearly eradicated among the Canadian-born non-Aboriginal population. In 2009, this group registered 1 case per 100,000 people. Rates among the general Canadian population are the lowest ever recorded – in 2009, this was 4.7 cases per 100 000.

Yet TB rates among Inuit in Canada are similar to those seen in developing countries – nearly 200 cases per 100,000 – and climbing.

“I am happy to have the support of the Stop TB Partnership and MPs from our three largest political parties,” said Hanson. “Eliminating TB in our lifetimes – in developing and developed countries – will take the collective attention and awareness of all of us.”

For more information:

Patricia D’Souza
Senior Communications Officer, Parliamentary Coordinator
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
[email protected]; 613-292-4482