Addressing tuberculosis among Inuit in Canada

M Patterson, S Finn, K Barker
2018 unpublished
The average annual rate of tuberculosis (TB) among Inuit in Canada is now more than 290 times higher than Canadian born non-Indigenous people. How did this happen? Using the Territory of Nunavut as a case example, the roots of this situation can largely be traced back to social determinants of health and challenges in access to health care. Half (52%) of all Nunavut residents live in social housing, often under overcrowded conditions. Many experience food insecurity, with food prices in Nunavut
more » ... d prices in Nunavut that are twice those in southern Canada. Sixty percent of Nunavut residents smoke. Challenges in health care delivery include the small isolated communities, with few roads and difficult weather conditions during the long winters, which impede the ability to reach or provide healthcare, staff that arrive with little TB experience or cultural knowledge, multiple competing health care demands, limited resources and high staff turnover. The housing shortage is not only a social determinant of health, it also impacts the ability to hire new staff or mount an effective response in the event of an outbreak.