The regional action plans have been developed in consultation with communities, Inuit organizations, partners in health service delivery, provincial and territorial governments, experts in TB programming, care and research, and local health care providers. While each region has specific needs and challenges with regards to TB elimination, all regional action plans commit to:
- Establishing regional TB committees/advisory groups,
- Enhanced/community wide TB screening campaigns,
- Improving preventative treatment completion of latent TB infection by introducing or expanding the use of shorter course treatment regimens,
- Reviewing access to new diagnostic technologies,
- Strengthening the foundation of TB programs in all regions with high incidence of TB by:
- Enhancing TB teams based on regional needs,
- Developing and strengthening community partnerships,
- Strengthening community engagement and education,
- Enhancing local human resource capacity; and,
- Identifying areas of collaboration within and between organizations for action towards improving social determinants of Inuit health directly related to TB.
The Government of Canada recognizes the importance in closing the health gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Budget 2018 announced $27.5 million over five years to support an Inuit-specific approach to tuberculosis elimination. This is in addition to the $640 million over 10 years announced in Budgets 2017 and 2018 to address Inuit Nunangat housing needs.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to Inuit on behalf of the Government of Canada for its actions during the TB epidemic between the 1940s and 1960s. In the words of the Prime Minister on TB elimination, while “…our new approach is founded on working in partnership, it’s also based on seeing TB for what it truly is: a disease that cannot be cured by medicine alone.”
As such, our shared commitment to eliminate TB in Inuit Nunangat is met with a shared determination to meaningfully address the social determinants of health, which have a direct influence on the prevalence and transmission of TB, including poverty, food insecurity and inadequate housing. Together, we can improve these factors and achieve our goal of TB elimination in Inuit Nunangat.