October 27, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB – Today, the Manitoba NDP is calling for immediate supports to address the syphilis outbreak in our province. New information obtained by the Manitoba NDP shows the number of babies born between January and August this year with Congenital Syphilis is at 30.
An NDP freedom of information request showed that there were thirty (30) babies born with the debilitating disease, which can lead to birth defects, still birth and lifelong health complications. Syphilis can be avoided with STI prevention measures and, once diagnosed, can often be treated with one dose of antibiotics.
“Babies and pregnant women deserve quality healthcare for the best start in life,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “There should be no cases of congenital syphilis in Manitoba, never mind 30 – there were only forty-five (45) cases in total across Canada last year. The Pallister government’s cuts to public health have meant the public health crisis caused by syphilis has gone unaddressed. There are solutions – to hire more public health nurses and to invest in more prenatal outreach and visits, and provide more prevention treatment options for moms and babies.”
The WRHA has increased the number of needles distributed by one million over the past two years. Prairie Mountain Health reported an increase of nearly 400% since 2017.
Point Douglas MLA and Critic for Mental Health and Addictions Bernadette Smith added, “Pregnant women suffering from addictions deserve real healthcare and treatment options without stigma. During this pandemic, we know that people have experienced greater mental health challenges and increased addiction issues including IV drug use. The PC government should stop their cuts to public health and ensure that people have immediate access to clean needles and mental health/addictions treatment so that women and babies have the best possible outcomes in Manitoba.”