NDP MLAs Call on Province to Tackle Rising Diabetes Rate on First Nations

September 21, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MBNDP MLAs called on the Pallister government to acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba are disproportionately impacted by Type 2 Diabetes and make an immediate commitment to invest in a system-wide response to this public health emergency. The call comes after the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHCP) released a report on Type 2 Diabetes in the province.

“This report is staggering. Not only are First Nation communities still overrepresented in Manitobans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, more and more of these diagnoses are in children. We know from the COVID-19 pandemic that when the political will exists to tackle a health crisis, resources are mobilized and funding flows,” said NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara. “There’s no reason the province can’t invest in diabetes treatment and prevention—especially when health experts agree solving the problem will improve health outcomes for our entire province.”

The MCHP makes clear recommendations to lower diabetes rates in Manitoba and improve outcomes for diabetic Manitobans. The NDP supports the report’s recommendations and is calling on the Pallister government to:

• Acknowledge that Type 2 diabetes disproportionately impacts Indigenous communities and that eliminating health inequalities is part of the TRC’s Calls to Action;

• Invest in prevention by funding nutrition and recreational programs in communities, strengthening Type 2 screening guidelines for children and improving health outcomes for diabetic Manitobans;

• Partner with First Nations leaders and Indigenous health care providers to make culturally appropriate health care options more accessible and collect more race-based data on diabetes patients;

• Reverse its cuts to obstetrical services in Flin Flon and The Pas and reinvest in reproductive health care to reduce incidents of gestational diabetes and infant mortality rates.

“Indigenous families are disproportionately affected by diabetes but it doesn’t need to be that way,” said Ian Bushie, NDP Critic for Indigenous Relations. “The Premier is cutting front line services with one hand and with the other he’s begging the federal government for more money. Rather than use that funding to backfill his cuts, he could invest in Manitoba’s diabetes crisis.”