The province announced a half million-dollar strategy this morning aimed at reducing Saskatchewan’s tuberculosis infection rates.
The plan aims to reduce tuberculosis by 25 per cent over the next five years by increasing prevention education, diagnosis and enhancing nursing and outreach support in the north.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan says the province has worked to reduce tuberculosis in the general population over the last few years but Saskatchewan rates remain above the Canadian average.
“We’ve had a well-established and well regarded tuberculosis program in the province but we continue to see a higher incidence of tuberculosis, new cases and recurring cases, here in Saskatchewan compared to the national average and so that is why today’s announcement is so important,” he says.
Dr. Ibrahim Khan, the regional medical health officer for the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, says the strategy is mainly targeted at reducing tuberculosis in northern Saskatchewan communities.
“First Nations people, particularly in Saskatchewan compared to other provinces, are disproportionately affected by TB and that’s more primary lung or respiratory TB,” he says. “So, that’s what we see more in Saskatchewan First Nations on-reserve people.”
He says the province sees about 90 tuberculosis cases per year, 80 per cent of which are First Nations people living on reserve.
The national rate for tuberculosis is 4.7 per 100,000 people while Saskatchewan’s rate is 7.5 per 100,000.