AIDS in Aboriginal People from Canada

August 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Blogging, Health | Leave a comment
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A very interesting post from the blog “Back on this side of the door“. The author, Meghan J. Ward, explains some facts about the situation of the AIDS in Canada:

As I take a break from writing an essay for AIDS, Power and Poverty, the last of the assignments I will ever write for my minor in International Development Studies, I can’t help but want to express to you something that has really convicted me. As many of you know, I am an active advocate for raising awareness and funds for HIV-related issues in Africa. However, I recently became convicted of my lack of personal knowledge about issues with HIV in Canada. While HIV rates are increasing on the whole within Canada, research led me to an interest in Canada’s First Nations populations, a sector of Canadian society that has already been ravaged by high suicide rates, unemployment rates, a lack of adequate housing, and alcoholism, to name only a few. Is this the Canada you know?

To give you some data that I am currently using for my paper, Aboriginal groups make up approximately 3.3% of the total population of Canada, however, they represent 5-8 percent of people currently living with HIV in Canada (2,3). Furthermore, in 2002, aboriginal people comprised 6-12 percent of the new infections found in Canada (2). The Assembly of First Nations projects that infections in the aboriginal community actually represents 16% of new infections (1). Faced with these numbers one finds a dire situation occurring in the First Nations communities in Canada. But these are only numbers, and numbers are not completely accurate, so let us remember that there are people behind the statistics who feel and think and emote just like everyone else.

As the 2006 World AIDS Day approached, Dr. Pierre Duplessis, Secretary-General of the Canadian Red Cross, brought the news about HIV back into focus in the Canadian context:

“It is a devastating reality that Canadian aboriginal communities are plagued by HIV infection rates mirroring some of those in developing countries. We are responding to this global pandemic around the world and see the effects of it on communities around the world, but we are also deeply concerned about our on First Nations communities in Canada.” (4)

Likewise, I am deeply concerned about our First Nations communities and so I am extending that concern to you, as awareness is the first step to taking serious action in the face of such devastation. That is the sole purpose of this entry – maybe you knew all this already, but if you did not, now you do. What you will do with that knowledge is up to you.

(1) AFN. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: The Reality for First Nations in Canada. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

(2) Health Canada. (2006). First Nations and Inuit Health: HIV and AIDS. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

(3) PHAC. (2003). HIV/AIDS Among Aboriginal Persons in Canada: A Continuing Concern. Retrieved February 27,2007, from click here.

(4) Canadian Red Cross. (November 28, 2006). Canadian Red Cross calls for awareness of HIV rates among First Nations. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2007

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CINE, investigating indigenous diet in Canada

August 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Canada, Health, Research | Leave a comment
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A good friend of mine, whose eyes are open and awake even in the 5th of August, found this information for me in the CINE (Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment) website:

GLOBAL HEALTH CASE STUDY – INUIT (BAFFIN REGION) NUNAVUT TERRITORY, CANADA

Introduction

The Territory of Nunavut was formed in 1992, and represents an Inuit self-ruled territory. The Baffin Region of Nunavut is the most traditional of Canadian Inuit Regions and is home to Inuit (Figure 1).

Studies in this region have shown that traditional food has a central role in the life of Inuit. Therefore, with support from the Northern Contaminants Program and with participation and guidance of the Inuit Tapiriit of Canada, the research took place from 1997 -2000 in 5 regions of Inuit communities with the objectives:

– To derive quantitative estimates of traditional/country and market food intake among Inuit in 5 regions (Inuvialuit, Kitikmeot, Keewatin, Baffin and Labrador), representing approximately 50 communities.
– To complete databases of nutrient and contaminant contents of traditional foods.
– To define benefits of traditional foods in terms of nutritional, socioeconomic and cultural significance.
– To define the levels of dietary exposure to contaminants (mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead and several organochlorines).

A total of 1929 participants were randomly selected for interviews. The information on food consumption took place during fall of 1998 and winter of 1999, using 24- hr recalls, food frequency interviews, and 7-day food records.

The study team was comprised of the following:

Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University, Québec, Canada, H9X 3V9.

1. Grace M. Egeland, Ph.D.
2. Rula Souieda
3. Harriet Kuhnlein, Ph.D., R.D

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Health Office, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1. Looee Okalik
2. Eric Loring

Notes on food groups

Seventy-nine different foods were identified for use in Baffin region, where Pangnirtung is located and among these are numerous species of fish and shellfish, marine and land mammals, birds, plant and berries as part of the traditional food system. The analyses of all foods were carried out in the CINE laboratory.

Information on 79 foods collected was divided into five groups:

1. Fish and Seafood
2. Sea Mammals
3. Land Mammals
4. Game and Birds
5. Berries

Nutrient composition of Baffin Inuit foods is presented in CINE’s Arctic Nutrient File providing access to nutrient information on traditional food (country food) for Canada’s Northern Indigenous Peoples.

The purpose of this resource is to present a reflection of the usual composition of foods available and/or consumed among Inuit community members. This is a living document and nutrient information will be added and/or updated when available.

Seasonality of use, harvest information, type of procurement and other relevant information were collected through household and key informant interviews.

Notes on food components

Vitamin A values are reported in both Vitamin A retinol equivalents (RE-µg) and in retinol activity equivalents (RAE-µg). These values are calculated and reported for only those foods for which retinol, beta carotene and total carotene values are available. Vitamin A (RAE-µg) values are reported for compatibility with the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommendations.

Folate values are reported in Dietary Folate Equivalent (DFE), in addition to reporting of natural folate present in foods

References

1. Fediuk, K., Hidiroglou, N., Madère, R. & Kuhnlein, H.V. (2002) Vitamin C in Inuit traditional food and women’s diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 221-235.
2. Kuhnlein, H.V., Receveur, O., Chan H.M., and Loring E. August, 2000. Assessment of Dietary Benefit/Risk in Inuit Communities. Technical report (ISBN # 0-7717-0558-1). Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill.
3. Kuhnlein, H. V., Kubow, S. & Soueida, R. (1991) Lipid components of traditional Inuit foods and diets of Baffin Island. J. Food Compos. Anal. 4(3): 227-236.
4. Kuhnlein, H. V. & Soueida, R. (1992) Use and nutrient composition of traditional Baffin Inuit foods. J. Food Compos. Anal. 5(2): 112-126.
5. Kuhnlein, H. V., Receveur, O. & Ing, A. (2001) Energy, fat and calcium in bannock consumed by Canadian Inuit. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 101(5): 580-581.
6. Kuhnlein, H. V., Chan, H. M., Leggee, D. & Barthet, V. (2002) Macronutrient, mineral and fatty acid composition of Canadian Arctic traditional food. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 545-566.
7. 7. Kuhnlein, H. V., Barthet, V., Farren, E., Falahi, E., Leggee, D., Receveur, O. and Berti, P. (2006) Vitamins A, D, and E in Canadian Arctic Traditional Food and Adult Diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 19: 495-506.

The pity is that this study is not completely available on-line right now, only a part here. I already told about the side effects of the non-indigenous diets on indigenous populations, and it seems that this institute in Canada investigates in this directions. Good to know that, then! They have more information, so I will be posting about them for a while.

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