(March 24, 2020 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) Today, on World Tuberculosis Day, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated calls on the Government of Canada to immediately make a significant funding commitment towards housing equity in Nunavut to address a root cause of high rates of respiratory illness in Nunavut.
Efforts to eliminate TB will improve the health and wellbeing of Nunavummiut. These improvements will help protect our families and communities against TB and other important health issues, such as COVID-19. The conditions and determinants of health, such as overcrowded, poorly ventilated housing and inadequate access to nutritious food, promote TB transmission and contribute to high rates of TB in Inuit communities. These are the same conditions that increase the risk of widespread COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
“Two years ago, the Government of Canada made a commitment to eliminate TB across Inuit Nunangat by 2030. A major, distinctions-based housing initiative is critical at this time.” – Aluki Kotierk, NTI President.
“COVID-19 and TB are diseases that thrive among the immune compromised. In Nunavut, chronic overcrowded housing, poverty and food insecurity must be addressed urgently.” – Kono Tattuinee, Kivalliq Inuit Association.
“Inuit acknowledge and appreciate the nurses, doctors, medical interpreters, first responders and many others who dedicate their lives to protect and care for Nunavummiut. We thank you for your commitment during this pandemic.” – Stanley Anablak, Kitikmeot Inuit Association.
“The World Health Organization has adopted aggressive targets to reduce new cases of TB, reduce TB related deaths and protect families from the catastrophic costs of infection. Actions and investments must match these targets.” – P.J. Akeeagok, President, Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
The Inuit Tuberculosis Elimination Framework (the TB Framework) was released by ITK in December of 2018. The Nunavut Tuberculosis Elimination Action Plan, has been drafted through a collaborative process led by NTI, in partnership with the Government of Nunavut, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association, Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Ilisaqsivik Society, Nunavut Housing Association and leaders in TB elimination, such as Mary Killiktee, former Mayor of Qikiqtarjuaq.The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the release of the action plan.
In March 2018, $27.5 million over 5 years was allocated for Inuit TB elimination across Inuit Nunangat. Of that amount, $13.1 million was allocated to Nunavut for activities from 2018-2023, of which $2.5 million was allocated to the Whale Cove and Kinngait community screening clinics. Work is on-going based on the draft action plan.
For further information:
Acting Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated