EDMONTON … Today, the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) released the first report of its kind that outlines the health status of Métis Albertans.
The report, called Health Status of the Métis Population of Alberta, was made possible as a result of an Information Sharing Agreement and a $250,000 grant from Alberta Health to the MNA. The grant was used to develop a public health surveillance program to better understand the health status of Métis Albertans. The MNA also received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to support the surveillance efforts.
MNA President Audrey Poitras said, “We continue to remain true to our commitment to improve the health and well-being for Métis Albertans and today, we are pleased to report on the results of our partnership with Alberta Health…It has been three years since we began this endeavour, and although the results of the report are concerning, we look forward to starting on a new path to translate this information into appropriate and relevant health programs and services for Métis in our province.”
“We were pleased to support the Métis Nation of Alberta Association in this important work,” said Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne. “The report’s findings give us unique insight into the health status of Métis Albertans that we didn’t have before. Through an ongoing relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta Association, we’ll now be able to use this information to better address the health needs of Métis Albertans. Our mutual goal is to improve their health and well-being.”
“This report will help improve the Métis population’s health and quality of life over the long term,” said Aboriginal Relations Minister Robin Campbell. “It demonstrates the Government of Alberta’s strong working relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta Association.”
The report used 2009 data to analyze topics such as Métis use of health services, mental health, chronic disease, injury and mortality. Report findings include:
- The Métis population was 1.6 times more likely to visit an emergency department than the non-Aboriginal population. Injury was the most common reason, accounting for one in five visits;
- Slightly higher Métis hospital inpatient care usage compared to the non-Aboriginal population, but considerably lower admission rates for Métis compared to both Inuit and First Nations;
- Better overall health in Métis compared to First Nations, but slightly worse health than non-Aboriginal Albertans;
- Compared to non-Aboriginals, 13 of 18 disease categories examined were more commonly diagnosed in the Métis population. Compared to First Nations however, the disease burden for Métis was lower for almost all the 18 disease categories, with the exception of cancer, circulatory diseases and endocrine diseases;
- Higher prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, respiratory disease and stroke in Métis compared to non-Aboriginal Albertans, and higher prevalence of hypertension, heart disease and cancer in Métis compared to First Nations;
- Higher Métis rates of morbidity related to alcohol and drug abuse, mood disorders and neurotic disorders compared to non-Aboriginals, but significantly lower rates of dementia and schizophrenia;
- Higher rates of cancer mortality in Métis females compared to both Métis males and non-Aboriginal males and females; and
- Significantly lower mortality rate of Métis compared to the non-Aboriginal population.
The health information gathered on Métis Albertans was interpreted by epidemiologists at the University of Alberta, School of Public Health. The Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research also supported the surveillance project.
The Health Status of the Métis Population of Alberta report can be found at www.albertametis.com.
– 30 –
For media inquiries please contact:
Sara Parker, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Métis Nation of Alberta
Dr. Don Voaklander, Director
Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research
Assistant Director of Communications