Manitoba Government Announces Investment in Development of Indigenous-led Health Initiative

Press Release

August 4, 2021

Sexually-Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection Initiative Developed by Indigenous Health Experts, Delivered by Ka Ni Kanichihk: Stefanson

The Manitoba government is investing up to $2.3 million over three years to support the development and implementation of an Indigenous-led, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) testing and contact tracing strategy, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“This new, Indigenous-led STBBI initiative will help with normalizing the testing and treatment of STBBIs and enable culturally safe care, which we know is crucial to responding to the health needs of Indigenous people in Manitoba,” said Stefanson. “Other Indigenous-led public health programs in other jurisdictions have seen great success, and we are confident this new initiative will see the same.”

The initiative will be developed by Indigenous health experts and delivered by Ka Ni Kanichihk, an Indigenous community organization with a strong track record in helping Manitoba’s Indigenous communities, through partnerships with other community service organizations, government agencies, funders and other stakeholders, the minister noted. This new initiative adds to existing STBBI services in the Winnipeg health region.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have seen how Indigenous leadership in public health has been effective and responsive to the needs of Indigenous peoples. We are pleased to be building on the work we’ve done over the past several years in sexual health and harm reduction to take a self-determining leadership role in the public health response to STBBIs,” said Dodie Jordaan, executive director, Ka Ni Kanichihk. “Our relatives deserve the highest quality of care in places they feel comfortable and welcomed. We are so happy to see the results of all the work that went into developing this proposal so that we can expand our role in being that safe place for urban Indigenous people.”

Manitoba Health and Seniors Care will provide funding, human resources and supplies to Ka Ni Kanichihk to deliver the program. This includes a project/clinical manager, epidemiological and communications support, as well as funding to hire on-site community hosts and knowledge keepers.

In addition, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) will be providing in-kind support by providing public health nurses to support the program’s delivery.

“The Indigenous-led model will focus on normalizing testing and treatment, and will include innovative contact tracing and outreach approaches for Indigenous peoples, directed by an Indigenous-led organization,” said Carolyn Perchuk, director of population and public health, WRHA. “The initiative will also work to provide anti-oppressive, culturally safe environments and practices, to improve STBBI prevention and intervention services offered to Indigenous people in Winnipeg and from across Manitoba.”

Stefanson said toolkits and resources will also be developed to help expand this approach to northern Manitoba and other remote areas where Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by STBBIs.

The project is expected to begin in late 2021 or early 2022, the minister added.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-290-5374.


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