Canadian, Greenlandic doctors talk TB prevention in Iqaluit

Dr. Maureen Baikie, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nunavut, said the meetings will help to improve how TB programs are delivered in the territory. (CBC)Nunavut and Greenland have similar high rates of infection

Doctors from across Canada and Greenland are in Iqaluit this week to discuss tuberculosis in Nunavut.

The territory continues to have the highest infection rates in Canada, with 100 cases in 2010, 74 in 2011 and 79 last year.

Nunavut’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Maureen Baikie, said there are still a lot of TB cases in Nunavut. She said gathering experts together now will help improve the TB programs delivered in the territory.

“For example, we’ve looked at the use of BCG vaccine, we’re getting some advice on some of the new tests that are out there for TB. So all of it will be used as we examine our TB program,” said Baikie.

One of those programs is Taima TB, which started in Iqaluit in 2011 with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated as a partner.

Dr. Gonzalo Alvares is the Taima TB program director. He said there is still a lot more data to process after the pilot project, but researchers have learned a few things from the results so far.

“They tell us that tuberculosis is still a problem here in Iqaluit and Nunavut. And also that preventative efforts are helpful,” said Alvares

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Greenland, Dr. Flemming Stenz, is also attending the meetings.

Stenz said Greenland is very similar to Nunavut in that it also has high rates of the disease.

The meeting wraps up this morning.

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