Dr. Theresa Tam to visit 3 Nunavut communities regarding TB outbreaks

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, will tour Nunavut this week.

The communities of Naujaat, Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik), and Iqaluit are on her itinerary, to coincide with the launch of a community-wide screening clinic for tuberculosis (TB) in Naujaat.

Naujaat and Pond Inlet are currently experiencing TB outbreaks. Tam’s visit to Nunavut will be an opportunity for Canada’s top doctor to work with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) and the Government of Nunavut, to observe social issues, such as housing shortages and food insecurity, that have significant impacts on the health of Nunavut Inuit, according to NTI.

Tam will be accompanied in her travels by NTI vice-president Paul Irngaut, Government of Nunavut Minister of Health John Main, and Nunavut’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Ekua Agyemang, among others.

“Nunavut Inuit face challenges that don’t affect most Canadians when accessing healthcare,” Irngaut said. “Having Dr. Tam on the ground visiting Nunavut communities will give her the opportunity to see firsthand some of the barriers that Inuit face when trying to navigate the healthcare system in Nunavut.”

Canada’s top doctor’s tour will conclude with two days of meetings and events in Iqaluit.

Although TB remains the focus of the visit for Tam, she will also meet with community groups and organizations to discuss related territorial issues such as homelessness, health education, mental health and health research initiatives.

Kira Wronska Dorward, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunavut News