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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Canada: First Nations tbc statistics obscured

Federal MPs on the House of Commons health committee got an earful Tuesday morning from an army of First Nations chiefs, doctors and public health experts who said Ottawa's plan to combat TB is failing First Nations people.
Data on outbreaks and infection rates are spotty and kept secret under the guise of patient confidentiality. Jurisdictional squabbles between the federal and provincial governments stymie treatment and prevention programs on reserves. A nearly 20-year-old national plan to combat the disease is only slowly being reviewed. There are no national standards on monitoring and controlling TB and it's tricky to do simple things like fly in a mobile X-ray unit to help confirm a diagnosis in a remote community.
Kimberley Barker, a doctor and adviser to the Assembly of First Nations, said Ottawa has so little control over its regional operations that there's little accountability on TB spending.
That bleak assessment follows a Winnipeg Free Press investigation that found some Manitoba communities have recorded some of the highest TB rates in the world since the 1970s.
Places like Lac Brochet have recorded 636 cases per 100,000 people, a fact Chief Joseph Dantouze reminded the Commons health committee of Tuesday.Read more:

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