Message from Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health – World Tuberculosis Day

March 24, 2009

On World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, it is important to reflect on the progress that has been made fighting the disease and also on the domestic and international challenges that remain.In keeping with this year’s theme for World TB Day – I am stopping TB – it is important to remember that everyone has a responsibility to address this public health concern: all levels of government, Aboriginal leaders, health professionals and the broader population.

In Canada, TB rates have fallen dramatically over the past 30 years. The incidence rate of TB in Canada, in 2007, was 4.7 cases per 100,000. This is the lowest reported rate of TB in Canada since the first TB surveillance data was collected in 1924. However, the disease continues to persist, especially among Aboriginal people.

Our government is working with provincial and territorial partners to curb the spread of tuberculosis and track and monitor this disease. In 2008–2009, Canada’s Government invested $6.5 million in funding to support on-reserve management of TB disease and infection. We also supported the Global Indigenous Stop-TB Expert Meeting held last November in Toronto which brought together experts from around the world to develop an action plan to reduce TB among Indigenous populations. I applaud the work of the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami who organized this meeting and continue to champion awareness of the effects of TB on Indigenous people in Canada and around the world.

Canada also collaborates closely with international partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Stop Tuberculosis Partnership, the Global Drug Facility, and the World Health Organization to combat tuberculosis through prevention and treatment initiatives. Between January 2000 and December 2008, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided $250 million towards global tuberculosis control.

This year, World TB Day celebrates the lives and stories of the women, men, and children affected by TB as well as nurses, doctors, researchers and community workers who continue the global fight against the disease.

As an Inuk growing up in Canada’s North, I’ve seen how vital it is for communities to collaborate to bring about lasting change. Let’s continue to work together to make it happen!

Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Government of Canada

For more information on TB, please visit the following :

Tuberculosis Information
Tuberculosis in First Nations communities
It’s Your Health – Tuberculosis Fact Sheet
Tuberculosis Prevention and Control – Public Health Agency of Canada Web site

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