Looking Ahead: Options to Promote Hepatitis C Testing, Treatment, and Prevention for First Nations in BC

BC Priorities Project 2019, Simon Fraser School of Public Policy

Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Canada exemplifies the widening gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes. Approximately 250,000 to 275,000 Canadians are living with HCV, with Indigenous peoples being disproportionately affected (CATIE, 2018). Although HCV demographic
information is limited, current evidence demonstrates that the rate of HCV infection among Indigenous peoples is at least five times higher than that of the rest of Canada (Fayed et al., 2018). This sharp disparity encompasses many HCV-related epidemiological statistics, including incidence, prevalence, and health outcomes, and reflects a history of colonialism in Canada where the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples has not been prioritized. The disproportionate incidence rate of HCV among Indigenous peoples in Canada mirrors a myriad of social and health factors.

In BC, this inequity is especially prominent, as First Nations peoples in the province have one of the highest rates of HCV infection in Canada. To address this issue, community leaders, researchers, and health professionals suggest utilizing Indigenous perspectives on wellness in developing a holistic healthcare model.

This SFU-led research project is intended to help provide FNHA with critical insight into the challenges and opportunities of a made-in-B.C. HCV testing, treatment, and prevention model that reflects and supports the First Nations perspective of wellness. Research, learnings, and outcomes are rooted in FNHA’s Directives and its visual representation of the First Nations perspective on health and wellness, as well as principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

 

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