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‘Stay calm and move forward’: Indigenous doctors on strength, resilience in the face of pandemics – APTN News

by ahnationtalk on March 27, 202035 Views

March 26, 2020

Indigenous peoples have been through pandemics before – and so has Dr. Darlene Kitty.

Kitty was on the front line in 2009 when the H1N1 pandemic hit her home community of Chisasibi in northern Quebec, hospitalizing people at a rate 33 times higher than in the rest of the province.

“In H1N1 we were kind of fighting on our own because it was the first time a big event happened,” says Kitty. “But by the second wave I think we learned by experience and we came out better in the end. But I know there was other First Nations that struggled.”

Kitty is a family physician and director of the Indigenous Program with the University of Ottawa’s faculty of medicine. Speaking from the Chisasibi Hospital, she tells APTN News that “bigger decision makers” like the federal government need to listen and work together with those battling the virus on the ground in remote communities.

“Work with the community to give them what they need and not just kind of a one-time deal. There has to be ongoing support through the next several months when COVID-19 is going to come, if it’s not there already,” she says.

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