University of Manitoba researchers examine the health status of Metis in
Manitoba

WINNIPEG, June 24 /CNW/ - A new collaborative report from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) and the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) finds some concerns for the health status of the Metis population in the province.

Researchers at MCHP and MMF analyzed anonymized health records and other data from such sources as the MMF membership registry, the health registry of the province, and the Repository housed at MCHP. Using a number of health measurements they were able to compare over 90,000 Metis in Manitoba with the rest of the population.

Manitoba Metis Federation President, David Chartrand welcomes the findings in hope it will bring change. "This report confirms what we've been saying for a long time - that Metis in Manitoba have more health problems."

At the provincial level the Metis are 21 per cent more likely to die before the age of 75, and adult Metis are more likely to have a chronic disease than their other Manitobans. The report also draws troubling conclusions for Metis youth who have higher rates of teen pregnancy and are more likely to be smokers when compared to the other Manitoba youth.

MCHP director, Dr. Patricia Martens is one of the lead researchers on this project. "We examined the health of the Metis population of Manitoba using over 80 indicators such as physical illness, the use of hospital services, educational success and social services use," says Dr. Martens.

When comparing the seven MMF regions, 11 regional health authorities, and 12 community areas within Winnipeg, researchers found wide regional differences. For example, Metis living in the Southeast MMF Region are about half as likely to die prematurely as Metis living in the Thompson Region.

Regardless of where one lives, Metis in the province did receive about the same quality of care - even compared to those who aren't Metis. The report shows that Metis are just as likely to receive similar post heart attack care, asthma treatment, childhood immunizations, and follow-up treatment for antidepressant prescriptions.

"The report shows that Metis childhood immunization, infant mortality and child mortality are all similar to that for all other Manitoba children," says Dr. Judith Bartlett who is the Director of the Health and Wellness Department at MMF and another lead researcher of the report. "All of the information in this first-of-a-kind Metis-specific report can be used by provincial planners and policy-makers to study successful programs that may be of benefit to other areas of Manitoba."

MCHP is a research unit in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Manitoba. Research scientists and their collaborators at MCHP study health services, population and public health, and the social determinants of health using data from the entire population of Manitoba. Most of the research is oriented towards answering questions of interest to policy makers in Manitoba based on a formal association with Manitoba Health and input from other government departments.

Media are invited to a news conference at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 24. The lead researchers, Dr. Patricia Martens and Dr. Judith Bartlett, will be available for interviews.

The summary and full report will be available for downloaded on Thursday, June 24 from http://mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/deliverablesList.html

SOURCE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA

For further information: For further information: please contact: Jack Rach, Communications Officer, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Dept. of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, jack_rach@cpe.umanitoba.ca, 204-789-3669

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