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Manitoba among six provinces to get low marks in health

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Manitoba and five other provinces got a "D" in the latest report card on the nation’s health status and that means a greater burden for the health care system in the future, the Conference Board of Canada warned Thursday.

"Many indicators in this category are linked to health conditions that will lead to greater demand for health care services," said Gabriela Prada, Director, Health Innovation, Policy and Evaluation for the conference board.

Manitoba joined Saskatchewan and all four Maritime provinces in scoring a failing grade for dozens of key indicators that rate the overall health of the population. The indicators were grouped in three major categories from life expectancy and rates of disease from lung cancer to heart disease to mortality rates.

"Our analysis is not meant to ‘shame and blame’ provinces that do relatively poorly on any given indicator," said Prada. "Our intention is to identify performance achievements and gaps so that all provinces are better equipped to make decisions that will improve health care systems and population health."

The findings released today are the first of four categories published by The Conference Board of Canada in its benchmarking of provincial health systems, produced under the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care. In all, 90 indicators are assessed in the categories of Lifestyle Factors, Health Status, Health Resources, and Health Care System Performance.

The report, Paving the Road to Higher Performance: Benchmarking Provincial Health Systems, is the foundation for a conference next week in Edmonton called the Western Summit on Sustainable Health.

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