Métis twice as likely to be hospitalized for diabetes, asthma: Statistics Canada


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Adult Métis living in urban areas are hospitalized at twice the rate of non-Aboriginal adults for conditions such as diabetes and asthma, a new report by Statistics Canada says.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2017 (1863 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Adult Métis living in urban areas are hospitalized at twice the rate of non-Aboriginal adults for conditions such as diabetes and asthma, a new report by Statistics Canada says.

Using linked 2006 census and hospital data, the study of 18- to 74-year-olds in census metropolitan areas who identified as Métis found the number of hospitalizations for certain conditions was 393 — versus 184 — per 100,000 population.

Even when socio-demographic differences between the two groups were taken into account, hospitalization for diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary-related illnesses remained twice as likely among Métis adults, the report said.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES President David Chartrand, Manitoba Metis Federation

The report released Wednesday is no surprise to David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Métis Federation, which has studied the health challenges of Métis in the province. He’s long advocated for more health-care supports, including prescription drug coverage for Métis.

“People are taking an aspirin instead of their heart pill because they can’t afford their medication,” he said.

“There’s no preventative care — we’re the highest chronic users of the hospital system,” Chartrand said. “If government invested earlier, it would save millions.”

The report looked at hospitalizations for “ambulatory care sensitive conditions” — including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma — for which hospitalization is preventable if the patient has access to primary care (e.g., a family doctor).

The rate of hospitalization for such conditions can be used as an indirect measure of the adequacy and accessibility of primary health care, the report said. People most at risk for such hospitalizations tend to be older, have poorer health, lower socioeconomic status, have more than one chronic disease, be regular smokers and live in rural areas.

Unless they’re Métis, in which case, being urban and fairly affluent doesn’t always help, said Chartrand, adding he’s seen his asthmatic wife struggle to find a family doctor in Winnipeg since hers died.

“Trying to get one is not easy,” Chartrand said. “She’s going to a walk-in clinic and she has asthma, big time.”

The report said there are a few reasons why Métis may be more likely than non-Aboriginal people to be hospitalized for asthma and diabetes. For starters, more Métis reported having the conditions.

In 2006, 14 per cent of Métis reported having asthma, and seven per cent reported diabetes, compared with eight per cent and four per cent, respectively, of the total Canadian population.

In 2012, daily smoking, an established risk factor for ambulatory hospitalization, was reported by 26 per cent of Métis ages 12 and older, compared with 15 per cent of the total population, the report said.

Chartrand said he met with Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott last week to discuss a national health-care strategy for Canada’s Métis.

In 2016, the federal government and the MMF signed the Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation.

In September, Health Canada and the MMF announced a joint commitment towards exploring new opportunities in health services and promotion, with the objective of supporting a healthy, secure and prosperous Manitoba Métis community.

The MMF put forward a program model to respond to the needs of its most vulnerable senior citizens living at or below the poverty line with supplemental health benefits.

Chartrand said he hopes the federal government and the province will help address the health-care needs of Manitoba’s Métis.

“Piece by piece, the chronic illnesses are tearing Métis people apart.”


Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.


Updated on Thursday, December 21, 2017 7:27 AM CST: Adds photos

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