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National Inuit Leader: More Action Needed as Inuit TB Rate Grows

Iqaluit, Nunavut – March 23, 2012 – As World TB Day approaches tomorrow, the rate of TB among Inuit continues to grow. “Vigilant action in all Inuit regions of Canada is required to stop this upward trend,” said National Inuit Leader Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

The latest figures released by the Public Health Agency of Canada paint a disturbing picture of the Inuit TB rate. It currently stands at 284 times the rate of the Canadian-born non-Aboriginal population. Figures released just two years ago put it at 185 times higher.“There is good work being done in our communities, and there is still much work to be done,” said Simon. “I congratulate the organizers of the successful Taima TB pilot project in Iqaluit for engaging local residents, health authorities and governments in this community-based intervention program. This approach is already demonstrating positive results, and with the right support it can be shared and with other communities throughout Inuit Nunangat.”

Inuit from across Canada have collaborated on a national action plan aimed at eliminating TB in the Inuit homeland. It speaks to three broad objectives: an Inuit-specific approach, urgent action and a holistic response that addresses both the medical and social causes of TB. It will be released in the coming months.

The key message to communities is “You may not know you have TB. Get tested. Get treated before you get sick.” Posters spreading this message, along with t-shirts affiliated with the global Stop TB campaign, are making their way to Inuit communities across Canada now.

Contact

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