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Report highlights Canada’s, Manitoba's strengths, weaknesses in health care

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Manitoba — and Canada as a whole — performed better than other countries in such health areas as vaccinations for influenza, avoiding hospital admissions for asthma, breast cancer survival and 30-day survival rates for heart attack.

A new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information compares the health care performance of individual provinces to close to three dozen countries.

It’s the first time that such comparisons have been made.

Canada’s health system gets high marks compared with other countries for disease prevention and cancer care, but poor grades when it comes to patient safety, according to the new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Canada fares well when it comes to survival rates for heart attacks, not so well in cases of stroke.

Manitoba’s numbers generally tracked up and down with the Canadian average, but in some cases were much more pronounced — either positively or negatively.

For instance, when it came to the percentage of women who have reported being screened for cervical cancer, Manitoba ranked above the national average and was second only to the United States, when compared to the 34-member countries of the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD).

However, when it came to a patient safety issue, such as leaving a sponge or some other type of "foreign body" inside a patient following surgery, Canada and, especially Manitoba, fared poorly. Manitoba’s rate of 11.8 such mishaps per 100,000 surgeries was higher than in any OECD country.

Both Manitoba and Canada fared worse than the OECD average in patient survival after hospitalization for stroke, although a CIHI official suspected some of the difference may be due to the fact that more patients with less serious strokes are admitted to hospital here compared with other countries.

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