First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada continue to be disproportionately affected by tuberculosis (TB), a disparity rooted primarily in factors such as poverty, crowded and inadequate housing, food insecurity, and inequitable health care access.
Historical TB control practices in Canada have contributed to stigma and discrimination toward those with the disease, as well as fear and mistrust of the health system. These individual and system-level factors result in delays in TB diagnoses, ongoing transmission, poorer outcomes, and lower treatment completion rates. Children are especially vulnerable, as they are more likely to develop disease once infected with TB bacteria and to experience life-threatening conditions such as TB meningitis.
Paediatric health professionals can help to increase TB awareness and literacy, reduce stigma and discrimination, and ultimately, improve the quality and uptake of services for treatment and prevention in families and communities at risk. They can also advocate for sustainable, community-driven TB elimination strategies that incorporate First Nations, Inuit and Métis principles of wellness, healing and self-determination.
Investigator, CHEO Research Institute