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What's in the news: Jun. 26 -- Manitoba First Nations declare H1N1 emergency

Manitoba First Nations declare H1N1 flu emergency
Chiefs of Manitoba First Nations have declared a state of emergency as the H1N1 flu pandemic ravages their already-troubled communities.

The chiefs lay the blame for the virus's quick spread on the federal and provincial governments, whom they say failed to act early enough.

"No one is taking responsibility," David Harper, of the Garden Hill First Nation, told the Winnipeg Sun. "We've crossed the line. We've had enough." [Winnipeg Sun]

One point of contention is that deliveries of hand sanitizer were delayed because of concerns that the alcohol-based gels would be abused by First Nations patients trying to get drunk. A government official confirmed the reason for the delays. "The discussion was with the best interests of our clients in mind," Anne-Marie Robinson, the assistant deputy minister of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of the federal health ministry. "We have had some rare experiences in our communities where we have had theft of hand sanitizers. … We do have communities where we have large proportions of people who suffer from addiction. … We have had a number of people come forward, and some evidence, where this could potentially put people at risk."

The delivery took two and half weeks to arrive, while the flu was making its way through the towns. [Globe and Mail]

First Nations have higher infant mortality, TB rates
Canadian First Nations peoples have higher infant mortality and tuberculosis infection rates than the rest of the Canadian population, a new UNICEF Canada study showed. [Canwest News Service]

More news from across Canada

- Quebec appeared poised to abandon its public-private partnership plans for the construction of the forthcoming Montreal mega-hospitals. [La Presse]

- Newfoundland MDs demanded higher pay in their next agreement with the provincial government. [CBC News]

- A Canadian HIV expert prepared to begin an innovative new study that might lead to treatments that could not only suppress the virus's ability to reproduce but actually eliminate it from the body completely. [Canwest News Service]

- Knee and hip joint surgeries, though they are expensive, actually save the public healthcare system money in the long run. (No pun intended.) [Globe and Mail]

- The burden of chronic diseases presents a challenge particularly for women, who are now living longer than ever before. So says a new study from St Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, in Toronto. [St Michael's Hospital news release]

- The Coalition of Family Physicians of Ontario, a doctors' group that tends to oppose the Ontario Medical Association and the provincial government in part because they inhibit doctors' freedom to practise as they wish, pointed to a recent essay by health law experts Lonny Rosen and Elyse Sunshine that concluded "concern remains that doctors will find themselves embroiled in more conflicts and other proceedings as a result of the College's enhanced investigative powers and the increased information disclosure required by the new amendments." [COFP notice to physicians] The laws were passed as part of a major health regulatory reform package known as Bill 141, back in April. [Canadian Medicine]

- Some MDs are concerned about a recent British Columbia law that permits naturopaths to do allergy testing. The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the British Columbia Medical Association and other groups have expressed their worries to the health minister. [Allergic Living]

- The Supreme Court gave its okay to governments' practice of forcing Jehovah's Witness minors to receive blood transfusions if deemed medically necessary. However, the court's decision made clear that judges should use their discretion to determine whether the minor is capable of making a responsible decision before enforcing a transfusion. [CBC News]

- A drug called aprepitant was found to reduce chemo-induced nausea and vomiting. The new evidence was presented at the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, in Rome, yesterday. It has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. [Merck Frosst news release]

- Alcohol is linked to one in 25 deaths worldwide, reported researchers from Toronto's Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. [The Lancet abstract] [BBC News] [CAMH news release]

- A Saskatchewan doctor was fined for refusing to report to the hospital when he was on call and for attempting to treat himself at the hospital. [Regina Leader-Post]

- A Winnipeg Children's Hospital doctor was charged with child sex abuse. [Winnipeg Sun] [Winnipeg Free Press]

- The government of Canada passed regulations banning the sale of plastic baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). "Our Government is acting to protect its most vulnerable citizens-newborns and infants," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a release. "Canada is the first country to move ahead with regulations to prohibit polycarbonate baby bottles that contain bisphenol A. We want parents to feel confident that they can safely bottle-feed their newborns and infants." [Health Canada news release] Why has no other country acted yet? Because there's no firm evidence that bisphenol A is actually dangerous, wrote Terence Corcoran. [National Post]

- You may soon be seeing fewer vaccine ads. (The fact you see any at all in Canada is because vaccines are not covered under the ban on direct-to-consumer drug advertising.) In response to complaints, Health Canada is demanding drug companies insert more safety information into their advertising material. [National Post]

- Health Canada, in issuing a health advisory warning consumers of the dangers of reusable cloth shopping bags and the bacteria and mould they could potentially collect, has effectively backed the plastics industry. [Health Canada advisory] Who underwrote the "study" that alerted the public to the health risks that could theoretically arise from the contaminated cloth bags? Why, it was the plastics industry! [CBC News]

- Dr PC Adams, published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology an essay titled "The impact of cirrhosis on the history of jazz." [Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology abstract (free full-length PDF available)]

- Canadian blogger and new family practice resident Dr Ottematic contemplated joining the Canadian Forces for the great salary and the medical training, but decided (for the time being at least) not to enlist. [Dr Ottematic]

- Kevin Megeney, the Nova Scotia soldier killed inside a NATO base in Afghanistan in 2007, was shot by a fellow soldier while they played a game of "quick draw," alleged crown prosecutors. [Canadian Press] After he was shot, Mr Megeney was treated by a civilian physician on contract with the military named Kevin Patterson, from BC. Dr Patterson went on to publish a graphic account of the episode in an excellent article he wrote for the American political magazine Mother Jones. Dr Patterson later conceded that published Mr Megeney's name was unethical and agreed to donate his earnings from the article to charity and pay a fine to the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons. [Canadian Medicine]

- This week's Health Wonk Review includes a whole section devoted to Canada. In it are articles by blogger The Ismological ["STOP LYING: Canadian Health Care DOESN'T Suck"] and by Canadian Medicine. [Healthcare Economist]

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  1. sharon27 June, 2009 10:17 AM

    RE: Garden Hill

    If the government stats are correct this is a community that has grown by 30% in the last five years.
    It has a plethora of supplies and services that create a flow of "peoples in and out" to use those services.

    In the midst of " organizational prosperity" there appears to be a "disparity" in service to the "individual" from the many "organised " organizations. What's with the "water distribution " service???

    8 nurses for a population of 3000 (ish) and headquarters for public health, social health etc. It is to northern Manitoba what Toronto is to Ontario.

    Now is this "call from the chief" a "posturing" rising from fear ......OR using the H1N1 pandemic to get more of the same monies that have been invested in recreational/administrative buildings.


    Monies invested here may not be hitting the " everyday" quality of life" issues it is expected to reach" by the payor.

    Let's see a comprehensive reporting of that which is being done "within" before we succumb to the pleas of " doing without".

    Right now it appears the government's generous apologies to Aboriginals have not been met with the complementary " I forgive you".

    Pleas for expanded roles and services would be heard best with an acknowledgement for all they presently have ( in a population of ?less than 4000) and a structured plan emerging from the multiplicity of administrative bodies housed there that outlines specifics beyond what they can do themselves.

    The rest of Canada does not believe that Aboriginals are living in squalor... the Garden Hill website vaporizes that myth. All communitites have bad neighborhoods that are the mandate of the municipality to correct.

    By now you are thinking that this is just another "white man" rant.... I watched my mom lift Arthur Shilling out of drunken squalor into international fame.
    I personally support an aboriginal outreach ministry that does not even get funding from its own think again.

  2. JJones27 June, 2009 11:42 AM


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