Trudeau Sorry for TB Travesty

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for the country’s treatment of Inuit tuberculosis patients from the 1940s to the 1960s, CBC reported.

During the epidemic, thousands of Inuit people were separated from their families and taken south for medical treatment, PRI reported. Many never returned, kept for years in sanitoriums where they eventually died.

Jack Anawak’s mother was taken when he was 6 years old. That was in 1956. Today her burial place remains unknown. 

TB still takes a disproportionate toll on Canada’s Inuit. Their annual rate of infection is 290X that of non-indigenous Canadians.

Myriad factors contribute to the imbalance, from overcrowded living quarters to issues with accessing health care—and possibly the prevalence of respiratory disease among Inuit babies, notes Anna Banerji of the University of Toronto.

If more med schools included indigenous health care in their curriculum, that could help mend the cultural disconnect, she notes.

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