WHAT IS QANUIPPITAA?
Qanuippitaa is the name of the 2004 Nunavik Health Survey.
During a meeting with Health Minister, Philippe Couillard, held in Kuujjuaq on October 12, 2003, an agreement was signed between the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (MSSS) and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), by which the MSSS and the NRBHSS each agreed to pay half of the cost for a health survey to be conducted among the Inuit population of Nunavik, a $1.8-million project.
Requested by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), it was decided that the survey would be carried out in collaboration with Quebec's National Institute of Public Health (Institut national de santé publique du Québec - INSPQ) and the Public Health Research Unit of the Laval University Hospital Centre (CRCHUL).
The 2004 Nunavik Health Survey is a continuation of a similar study that was conducted by Santé Québec, almost 12 years ago, in 1992. Building on the results of these prior studies, this new survey will update the health profile of Nunavimmiut on topics such as general health and lifestyle, dietary habits, heart disease, and exposure to environmental contaminants. This will be done through questionnaires and clinical tests that will be administered to selected participants.
For this purpose, a team of nurses, researchers, interviewers and interpreters will be traveling around Nunavik onboard the newly renovated Canadian research icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen. Modified for science through a project funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), the Amundsen will be fitted with the medical and clinical equipment needed to conduct the health survey. For more information on the ship itself, please consult www.amundsen.quebec-ocean.ulaval.ca.
The Qanuippitaa? team will also be sharing the Amundsen with ArcticNet, a newly funded Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada that conducts the integrated natural/health/social study of the changing Canadian coastal Arctic. A major partner
of Qanuippitaa?, ArcticNet will be conducting complementary studies on health (drinking water quality, new infectious diseases, chronic diseases, etc.) and on the physical properties of the Nunavik coastal environment. For more information on ArcticNet's projects, please consult www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca.
It is important to note that the collaboration of ArcticNet in this survey made possible the use of the Canadian Research Icebreaker, as they are contributing about half the cost of operating the ship during this period. With the additional contribution of ArcticNet to the cost of the infrastructure (i.e. the Research Icebreaker) and satellite health projects, as well as from Indian and Northern Affairs' Northern Contaminants Program, brings the total value of the Health Survey to close to $3 million.
Other monitoring and research activities will also take place onboard the Amundsen :
As part of province-wide program, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services' Public Health Department will also be carrying out mammography screenings for women aged betwen 50 and 69 years old. These women will also be given the opportunity to have a Pap test screenings performed at the same time. For more information on the NRBHSS's activites, please consult www.rrsss17.gouv.qc.ca.
Through this Health Survey, the Public Health Research Unit of the Laval Univsersity Hospital Centre will also be carrying out the first step of a circumpolar Cohort Study: "The Inuit Health in Transition Study". The study will be repeated every 7 years to assess the impacts of dietary habits and environmental changes on cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes in all Inuit populations around the world. For more information on the CRCHUL'activities, please consult www.crchul.ulaval.ca.
Nasivvik will also hold a one-week field course onboard the Amundsen on topics related to Arctic environment and health. Inuit trainees will receive training from the different researchers and technicians onboard. This Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environments' mission is to conduct education, training and research activities in support of moving from research on Inuit to research with Inuit, and ultimately to research by Inuit. For more information on Nasivvik, please consult www.nasivvik.ulaval.ca.