Nunavut, NTI finalizing plan to fight tuberculosis

Health Minister John Main says GN has accessed $2.5M and expects more coming

Health Minister John Main, speaking in the legislature during the recent winter sitting, says his department is working on a regional action plan with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. that will tackle tuberculosis in the territory (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By David Lochead

The Government of Nunavut is in the final stages of working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., on a plan to tackle tuberculosis in the territory, according to Health Minister John Main.

Main answered a question posed by Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq on March 18 in the legislative assembly. He asked why the GN had only accessed $2.5 million from NTI when the organization had $13.8 million available to fight tuberculosis.

That funding is part of a 2018 federal government commitment that pledged $27.5 million over five years to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat.

NTI’s money is tied to a regional action plan, and additional funding will be available when that is established, Main said.

“It’s something that we are fully committed to seeing move forward in terms of reducing the prevalence of TB in Nunavut,” he said.

Tuberculosis infection rates were more than 290 times higher among Inuit in Canada in 2019 than among Canada’s non-Indigenous population, according to research by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Most cases are due to social and economic factors related to health, such as overcrowded housing, a lack of access to food or transportation infrastructure, states the agency.

The $2.5 million already given to the GN was tied to community screenings, which have been completed in three communities.

These screenings are logistically complex, Main said, and his department is reviewing whether community screening is the best way to tackle tuberculosis.

Work on a final agreement between the GN and NTI will also include the sharing of information, Main said.

Nunavut’s Information and Privacy Commissioner recently recommended the GN disclose tuberculosis statistics at the community level with some restrictions.

Main said in the legislature on March 11 that disclosing cases at the community level is still too much of a privacy risk, but said the GN could disclose tuberculosis cases at the territorial level quarterly.

He added the GN can work with NTI and hamlets on what tuberculosis information can directly be shared with communities.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by NTI is not Health on

    The idea that our federal government would give a land claims organization funding for a healthcare issue is ridiculous. NTI does not run hospitals. It does not employs physicians and experts. The money did no go to the Government of Nunavut? Now NTI is holding the funding hostage from Nunavummuit. Shameful.

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    • Posted by Pudloo on

      I agree with you. I have never understood why the Feds give NTI money for files that are clearly a government mandate. There are quite a few examples where funds that should have been provided to GN Health are given to NTI and they are not spent. These include the TB Elimination Funding, Inuit Health Survey, etc.

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      • Posted by iThink on

        The Feds do this so they can say they have given money to “the Inuit,” making them appear more sensitive and virtuous than they would had they given it to the GN (results be damned).

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        • Posted by Jack Napier on

          The government of Nunavut has top credit rating. They know how to manage money.

          • Posted by iThink on

            I’m not disputing that. I’m suggesting it is optics. It may also be about ingratiating to an organization that is believed to occupy a special moral ground; thus keeping the sounds of general malcontent to a rather dull hum..

          • Posted by Backstopped on

            Only because they are 100% backstopped by the Canadian taxpayer,

        • Posted by John K on

          Pretty sure the NLCA sets out that NTI gets the money.

          So as much as I’m sure people want to blame the Feds as per usual this is on the people who negotiated the agreement.

    • Posted by Jamesie on

      That’s only a taste of NTI’s shame. All the money that organization sit on, some of it should be used to alleviate the dire housing needs in Nunavut.

      NTI does nothing for Inuit. It’s leadership are nothing short of carpet-baggers looking out for themselves.

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  2. Posted by Killerbuck on

    What about $259 million that NTI recently received for “Infrastructure”? Why wasn’t that given to CGS?

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  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Is this an effective use of federal tax dollars? Literally tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been flowed to organizations like ITK and NTI with little to no oversight and zero accountability. To add insult to injury the money targets priorities like health that clear lie with the Territorial Government. Is this reconciliation or passing the buck?

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  4. Posted by High hopes on

    It’s only been treatable for 70 plus years. Can’t rely on people to take the months long treatments. Good luck with your plan.

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  5. Posted by Dear John on

    I’m pretty sure a lot of TB is from sharing smokes and joints. How do you plan on fighting this? Making sure everyone gets their own cigarettes?

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  6. Posted by pissed off on

    Can you say lack of oversight from the Feds??
    This has been going on for years. Political actions to make the Feds look like they are doing something. Blank checks to organisations that have no guidelines for expenditures, no demands from the “ beneficiaries“ for a clear accounting, no true requirements to account for their actions except“ consolidated financial statements“
    You can bury a lot of mismanagement in those “consolidated statements“

    Also it is giving these organisations the false sense that they should stick their noses into fields of activities clearly in the mandate of the GN,and the municipalities. The Feds are creating “ little kings“ in the wrong places.
    Thanks

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    • Posted by Jamesie on

      At least Ottawa is trying to do something. The shame of nothing being done falls on NTI.

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