IQALUIT, NU, March 22, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq,
Minister of Health, today announced two new research studies to help
address tuberculosis (TB) in Nunavut. The Minister was joined by the
Honourable Keith Peterson, Minister of Health and Social Services,
Government of Nunavut; Ms. Cathy Towtongie, President of Nunavut
Tunngavik Inc (NTI); and Dr. Gonzalo G. Alvarez, the lead researcher
from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University
"Today's announcement is about building on the work already started to
address a problem that has been with us too long," said Minister
Aglukkaq. "We have an extraordinary community of passionate people
across Nunavut working in collaboration with us on these projects. The
knowledge developed will directly translate into improved health for
The two research studies funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR) will build on the results of a pilot project previously
funded by the Government of Canada, TAIMA TB. The two studies will:
Expand tuberculosis awareness campaign to two communities in Nunavut.
Evaluate new state-of-the-art TB diagnosis equipment recently purchased
by the Government of Nunavut and installed at the Qikiqtani General
Hospital Laboratory. The study will also be conducted in Montreal at
the Montreal Chest Institute.
"We are pleased for this support," said Minister Peterson. "These
projects will study the use of new technology to detect TB sooner in
Nunavut as well as increase awareness about TB in our communities."
Although progress has been made, TB remains a severe global public
health threat. According to the World Health Organization, there were
an estimated 8.8 million new cases and 1.4 million TB related deaths
worldwide in 2010. In Canada, tuberculosis is most prevalent among
foreign-born and Aboriginal populations. Due to a number of factors,
many TB cases are detected late which can lead to further spread.
"This has truly been a community-based and participatory project made
successful by the commitment of the research team and the community
itself. NTI looks forward to building on the momentum of TAIMA TB in
collaboration with Dr. Alvarez, the Government of Nunavut and the
Government of Canada," said Ms. Towtongie.
Dr. Alvarez thanked the community of Iqaluit for their participation and
support: "The community has accomplished incredible work with the TAIMA
TB research project. With this additional funding from CIHR, we will
continue our work so Nunavummiut are aware of the signs and symptoms of
TB and are diagnosed quickly."
Dr. Alvarez is an associate scientist at OHRI, an assistant professor in
the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and a staff
respirologist at The Ottawa Hospital.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's
mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its
translation into improved health, more effective health services and
products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of
13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100
health researchers and trainees across Canada.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is funding two new research
studies to help address tuberculosis (TB) in Nunavut.
The two studies build on results from a previously funded pilot project
from the Public Health Agency of Canada, TAIMA TB (Stop TB in Inuktitut). TAIMA TB was a partnership initiative with the
Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik (NTI), the Ottawa Hospital
Research Institute and the University of Ottawa. Other partners include
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), New Brunswick Lung Association and the
National Aboriginal Health Organization. The TAIMA TB pilot project was
announced by Minister Aglukkaq in January 2011: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/media/nr-rp/2011/2011_0113-eng.php
Knowledge Translation Project on Tuberculosis in Nunavut
Principal investigator: Dr. Gonzalo G. Alvarez
Research institution: Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI)
Colleagues on research project: Kristine Hutchison, Natan Obed, Connie Siedule, Heather Colquhoun,
Katherine A. Moreau
Funding: $100,000 over 1 year from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Project details: The CIHR-funded knowledge translation project will expand and increase
awareness of TB through a multifaceted awareness campaign focusing on
two communities in Nunavut other than Iqaluit that have increased rates
of TB. Partners include the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik
Inc (NTI). The research team will engage with local public health teams
to focus TB awareness activities with high school students using the
tools developed under the TAIMA TB project to further empower community
members with TB knowledge in both Inuktitut and English.
Improving tuberculosis diagnosis in vulnerable populations: impact and
cost-effectiveness of a novel, rapid molecular assay
Principal investigators: Dr. Madhukar Pai and Dr. Gonzalo G. Alvarez
Research institution: The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and The
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI)
Colleagues on research project: Marcel Behr, Richard Menzies and Kevin Schwartzman
Funding: $350,000 over 3 years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Project details: Recently, the World Health Organization announced its endorsement of a
novel molecular test for TB - the Xpert MTB/RIF test, a
cartridge-based, completely automated test, which can accurately detect
TB and drug resistance in a couple of hours. The research team will
conduct the first evaluation of Xpert MTB/RIF in Canada. The research
team will evaluate accuracy, reduction in diagnostic and treatment
delays, and cost-effectiveness of this novel molecular test for TB. The
study is a joint effort between University of Ottawa researcher Dr.
Alvarez and McGill University researcher Dr. Pai. The study will be
conducted in both Montreal, Quebec, at the Montreal Chest Institute and
Iqaluit, Nunavut at the Qikiqtani General Hospital. In Iqaluit, the
equipment has now been installed at the Qikiqtani General Hospital and
purchased by the Government of Nunavut. The study will generate data
that will enable organizations such as the Public Health Agency of
Canada and Health Canada and provincial and territorial governments to
develop evidence-based Canadian guidelines on this novel TB test.
SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For further information:
Cailin Rodgers, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563