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Ottawa vows to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit communities by 2030

March 23, 2018 1:24 AM
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Ottawa vows to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit communities by 2030

Inuit communities have seen higher rates of infection than non-Indigenous communities

The federal government is promising to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit communities by 2030.

Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott and President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed made the announcement in Ottawa Friday ahead of World Tuberculosis Day.

They've also committed to halving active cases of the bacterial disease by 2025.

Cases of tuberculosis, or TB, in Inuit communities are happening at "unacceptably high rates," Canada's top public health official Dr. Theresa Tam said in a recent report.

The timeline, which Philpott called ambitious, comes after government officials and Inuit leaders met in September 2017 to establish a TB elimination task force.

​Philpott said the first steps will be to stop deaths related to delayed diagnosis and to rid the disease in young children.

The minister said elimination plans will be tailored to the four Inuit regions that make up the Inuit Nunangat and will pinpoint some of the underlying inequalities linked to tuberculosis including housing, food security and nutrition, health services and mental wellness.

Tam said in an online statement that the disease was brought to Canada by Europeans in the 18th century and was quickly dispersed across the population, with Indigenous people heavily hit.

Obed said meeting the objectives of Friday's announcement will be a challenge but he's encouraged by the funding pledges.

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