Nunatsiaq Online (01.17.13)
Pauktuutit, Canada’s national organization for Inuit women, is hosting a national Inuit strategic planning session in Kuujjuaq on January 20 and 21, with a focus on the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The session’s goal is to promote HCV awareness and prevention. Although Nunavut and other Inuit regions have some of the lowest HCV rates in Canada, Geri Bailey, manager of health policy and programs for Pauktuutit, was concerned about the lack of HCV education and felt that people needed to know what behaviors can lead to acquiring it, how to get tested, and how to start treatment, if necessary.
The session will include panel presentations on national aboriginal and Inuit specific initiatives, provincial and territorial hepatitis C services, and other resources. Priorities include prevention and promotion, research and surveillance, testing and health services, care, treatment, and support. Members from all four of the Inuit regions will attend the planning session. In Canada, approximately 242,500 persons are infected with HCV, and approximately 21 percent do not know they are infected.