The Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) have entered into a tuberculosis (TB) information sharing agreement. The two sides made it official on Nov. 21 and both have agreed to work toward supporting communities dealing with the disease.
Through the agreement, NTI will be assisting in providing non-clinical supports for Nunavummiut dealing with TB, including isolation wellness hampers for households with TB, online training courses and more.
“Through the signing of this information sharing agreement we’ll have better information on outbreaks of tuberculosis, which will put us in a better position to provide supports that are non-clinical for tuberculosis,” said Aluki Kotierk, president of NTI.
The territorial government of Nunavut is committing to sharing active and latent TB incidence data on a territorial, regional and local level with NTI, notifying NTI about outbreaks, and sharing defined and relevant disease data regularly.
“This is really a tool to align the work the Department of Health is doing with our partners at Nunavut Tunngavik,” said Health Minister John Main. “Through this agreement which will be implemented by our staff, we will be sharing information with Nunavut Tunngavik, which will help bring us closer in terms of partnership and addressing the needs around tuberculosis.”
The GN is hopeful that by working together with NTI, they’ll be able to tackle tuberculosis in a way they haven’t been able to before.
“It is only through concerted efforts and collaborations like the commitment NTI and the GN are making today that we can truely tackle the issues Nunavummiut are facing today,” said Kotierk.
“It’s really important when we have a problem so big like tuberculosis that all partners are working together. I think we can all see the value in that type of partnership,” added Main.
According to Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, the department continues to diagnose more people with tuberculosis in Pangnirtung as part of its ongoing outbreak.
The agreement will also brings a mechanism to help publicly report TB case numbers and conditions according to Patterson.
“The agreement contains a clause that requires both parties to negotiate a set of pieces of information that will be publicly reported, improve transparency in terms of number of individuals with TB and other indicators of quality of care. That’s one of the things that will start probably in the very near future once we have provided the background information on the current situation,” said Dr. Patterson.
Patterson added the GN’s quarterly tuberculosis update should be expected sometime within the next couple of weeks and to see more cases as the Department of Health continues to shift resources from Covid-19 to tuberculosis.
Main added increased cooperation with NTI in other areas such as housing helps work toward eliminating Nunavut’s TB outbreaks.
“It’s very concerning the presence of tuberculosis in Nunavut is so unacceptably high and continue to be. It’s hard to talk about tuberculosis without talking about the social determinants of health. That’s where the government and Nunavut Tunngavik’s work on things like housing is so exciting,” said Main.