The Conservative Government and the Re-emergence of Tuberculosis In First Nations and Inuit Communities
Keywords:Aboriginal health, tuberculosis, health policy
AbstractIn the 1980s, Canada thought that it had beaten tuberculosis. The disease that had reached epidemic proportions during the first half of the twentieth century had started a dramatic and steady decline from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. However, it re-emerged as a public health issue in the 1990s as the rates of tuberculosis started to rise again. Since its return, tuberculosis is affecting the population in a different manner than it did during the period before the 1980s. This time, the rates of tuberculosis are remaining elevated only in First Nations and Inuit communities while in the general population, the rates continue to slowly decline to a level that is approaching zero. The elevated rates of tuberculosis in these communities continue to capture the attention of politicians, and in June 2010, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health tabled its Final Report, entitled: The Way Forward: Addressing The Elevated Rates of Tuberculosis Infection In On-Reserve First Nations and Inuit Communities in the House of Commons. In October 2010, the Conservative government tabled its response to this Final Report. This paper examines the government’s lukewarm response to addressing the serious issues that were raised in the Final Report. Le Canada croyait avoir vaincu la tuberculose dans les années 80. La maladie, qui avait connue des proportions épiques dans la première moitié du vingtième siècle, avait entamé une descente dramatique et constante entre les années 1950 à 1980. Malgré cela, la tuberculose est réapparue en tant que problème de santé publique dans les années 1990, pendant lesquelles les taux de tuberculose se sont mis à augmenter de nouveau. Depuis cette reprise, la tuberculose a touché la population de manière différente qu’auparavant. Cette fois-ci, les taux de tuberculose demeurent élevés seulement dans les communautés autochtones et Inuit, alors que dans le reste de la population canadienne, les taux continuent de descendre lentement, à un niveau approchant du zéro. Les taux élevés de tuberculose dans ces communautés continue de capturer l’attention de politiciens, et, en juin 2010 le comité parlementaire permanent de la santé (HESA) a présenté aux communes son rapport final, intitulé : La voie de l’avenir: Comment réagir aux taux élevés de tuberculose dans les réserves des Premières Nations et les collectivités Inuits. En octobre 2010, le gouvernement conservateur a déposé sa réponse à ce rapport final. Cet article examine la réponse tiède du gouvernement fédéral aux graves problèmes dont discute ce rapport final. Mots-Clefs: Santé autochtone; tuberculose; politique sur la santé
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