We did two TB screenings in 2019, Nunavik health board says

“These community‐wide screenings were not publicized”

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services says they’ve done two community-wide TB screenings this year. (File photo)

By Marie Rochette, M.D., M.Sc., FRCPC
Director of Public Health, NRBHSS

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services took note of your article: “The Trudeau government 2.0: prepare for a letdown,” published on the Nunatsiaq News website on November 27, 2019.

We want to thank you for raising concerns about the public health issues faced by Inuit and for calling out the government to keep their promises to eliminate tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat by 2030.

We would like to clarify the statements in your article regarding TB elimination campaigns in Nunavik being ground to a halt since early 2018.

Working in collaboration with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and other Inuit Nunangat regions, the NRBHSS began to implement its Regional Action Plan for TB elimination (RAP‐TB) with the active participation of communities and regional partners.

Among the key activities implemented, as part of the RAP‐TB, we want to highlight the following interventions:

• A first community-wide screening was held in July‐August 2019 in one of the 14 communities, with an over 95% participation rate of the population;

• A second community-wide screening is ongoing in another community, and expected to end next week.

Sadly, TB is still a disease that brings stigma and shame; at the request of the community leaders, these community‐wide screenings were not publicized.

In collaboration with community leaders and the health centres of Nunavik, we plan to screen three communities every year for TB.

We are working on communication and education tools to increase the healthcare workers’ and the population’s knowledge and competencies about TB and to reduce the stigma surrounding it.

The implementation of various interventions targeting the social determinants of health is also planned.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.

Marie Rochette, M.D., M.Sc., FRCPC
Director of Public Health
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Stigma, shame and other poor choices on

    Screening for TB, is not the same as having a TB epidemic. Even though, the screening is an indication that the concerns are real. To have the screening done in secrecy is a little bit concerning also. Concerning because, secrecy may continue even when there are many possible and active cases detected. If a certain community has high rates of TB detected, then all traveling to that particular community needs to stop, or slowed down. We all know the traveling in Nunavik is very high, with meetings and committees. So the danger in secrecy are real. It’s understandable to be concerned about stigma and shame, but not at the cost of spreading the disease. Again, its truth and disclosure that may save life.

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