Organization representing Canadian Inuit to lead national Inuit health survey

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Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami representatives say all Inuit will be given the chance to participate in Qanuippitta? National Inuit Health Survey. (WE CAN DO BETTER: Housing in Inuit Nunangat, Senate report)
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the organization which represents Inuit in Canada, is launching an ambitious new project to gather up-to-date health information from Inuit of all ages.

This will be the only comprehensive health survey of Inuit that is controlled by Inuit and based on Inuit values, according to an Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) press release.

“Today, much of the information on Inuit health is out of date and fails to accurately reflect the state of Inuit health and wellness,” states the release.

The survey will include questions that focus on physical and mental health, as well as employment, education and food security.

Teams of interviewers and counsellors will visit every community across all four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland. Those teams will work with community members to carry out the data collection.

The national Inuit health survey is titled Qanuippitaa?, or How Are We? It is an echo of the federal government-controlled 2007/08 Inuit health survey, titled Qanuippitali.

The survey will also be offered to Inuit who live outside of Inuit Nunangat as well, but organizers have not yet worked out the details of how that component will roll out.

The project is funded by the federal government, which has earmarked $82 million over 10 years, with $6 million a year ongoing.

Teams of interviewers and counsellors will visit every community across all four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Northern Canada. The survey will include questions that focus on physical and mental health, as well as employment, education and food security. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ITK’s goal isn’t just data collection. The organization also wants to use the survey as an opportunity to train Inuit to do their own research.

“This will help ensure that Inuit have greater control over research, while also providing survey and research-related expertise and jobs that will stay in Inuit communities,” states the news release.

The survey is being developed by a working group that includes two representatives from each Inuit land-claim organization; representatives from Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the National Inuit Youth Council; and one representative each from the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Government of Nunavut, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and Labrador-Grenfell Health.

The ITK aims to start collecting data in 2021, and carry out the surveys every five years on a permanent, ongoing basis.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: New Canadian cancer strategy has focus on Inuit, First Nations and Métis people, CBC News

Finland: Hospital wards accross Finland clogged with “unnecessary patients”, Yle News

United States: Alaska’s drug problem worsening as police resources strained, Alaska Public Media

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