FNIH Pandemic Influenza Plan

Updated January 2008

Introduction

There are more than 600 First Nation and Inuit communities across Canada and each band has its own culture, history and identity; more than 50 languages are spoken. In Ontario, there are approximately 80,000 First Nations people in 134 reserves (Assembly of First Nations website).

The majority of First Nations on-reserve population is young. Approximately 60% of the population is under 30 and the birth rate is more than twice the Canadian rate. Many First Nations communities have higher rates of chronic and infectious diseases. Life expectancy is 7.4 years lower among First Nation males and 5.2 years lower among First Nation females than the general population. Compared with the general Canadian population, First Nations people have:

  • 1.5 times higher prevalence of heart disease;
  • 3 to 5 times higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes;
  • 8 to 10 times higher prevalence of tuberculosis infection rates; and
  • 4 times higher pneumonia admission rates.

Housing inadequacies continue to be a problem on reserves. In 2001, 36.0% of on-reserve dwellings were in need of major repairs compared with 8.2% in the general population. Overcrowding remains an issue; 19% of dwellings on reserves have more than one person per room compared with 2% of homes in the rest of Canada. Overcrowding may greatly increase the risk of communicable disease transmission such as influenza (From “A Statistical Profile on the Health of First Nations in Canada” which is available at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/FNHealthStats).

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Pandemic Influenza Plan (PDF)1.77 MB