Tuberculosis in Nunavut: One Community's Initiative to Promote Awareness Through an Organized Community Health Fair

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 1:35 PM

Dora Maria Carbonu, EdD, MN, RN
Nursing Program, Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit, NU, Canada

Learning Objective 1: Describe experiences of a community successfully mobilizing its resources for a health fair as an educational strategy for health promotion and TB awareness

Learning Objective 2: Appreciate the values of a multidisciplinary approach to a community educational program to overcome stigma and mistrust associated with TB and other related health services

Purpose: Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem, with a profound impact on the health of the population of Nunavut, where the highest number of 101 new active cases, were documented in 2010, a population rate 62 times the Canadian average, and involved adolescents and young adults. About 50% of the recorded cases were located in the capital city, placing a high demand on all sectors to enhance public health measures.

Methods:  Evidence from one community’s efforts to promote TB awareness, with related health behaviors, attitudes, and life styles, suggested that stigmatization and mistrust were still prevalent. The Tuberculosis Program team, in consultation, coordination and collaboration with local, regional, public- and private-sector groups, embarked on a Community Health Fair, held on April 13, 2012, utilizing a holistic approach to primary health care within the framework of 2012 World TB Day, Nutrition, Dental, School Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Traditional and Spiritual Health, and World Health Day. The event brought together one-third (500) of the community’s population of all ages. Programs and activities encompassed assessment and screening, educational displays and presentations on comprehensive, integrated, and continuous health care services across the lifespan.

Results: This event succeeded in (a) rejuvenating and re-kindling community motivation and morale about public- and community health services, especially among school-aged adolescents, the youth, and elders; (b) promoting (i) voluntary attendance and participation in TB- and other health/wellness programs, (ii) parental commitment to Well-Baby-Immunization- and Pre-School Screening programs, and (iii) compliance with the Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) program.

Conclusion: The outcome of this community-driven health promotional/educational initiative has culminated into an anticipated annual health fair, supported by all sectors, with the goal to overcome stigmatization and prejudices about Tuberculosis and other related health issues, and to improve the quality of life of the people of this community.