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World and National Context of Community Health Services
A picture of Health Canada's performance
(Press Release, 23 November 1998) Health Canada's Performance Report for 1997-1998, tabled
Oct. 29, 1998 in Parliament, outlines the Department's financial performance and
highlights many of its accomplishments in promoting and protecting the health of
Canadians. "The initiatives described (in the report)," says Health Minister
Allan Rock in his introductory message, "will help individuals and communities
improve their health, while supporting a health system that focuses its resources on
meeting the needs of Canadians, now and in future. "For more information, visit http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rma/dpr/97-98/HCAN97DPRE.pdf
Request for $58 million to Health Canada for priority initiatives (Press
Release, Nov. 4, 1998)- Treasury Board recently asked Parliament to approve $58 million
for Health Canada as part of a package of supplementary estimates for fiscal year
1998-1999 totalling $5.3 billion. The funds will be used for a number of priority health
initiatives, including the public education component of the Tobacco Control Initiative,
the development of a Canadian Health Info-Structure, strengthened blood safety and
surveillance activities, and the implementation of the Aboriginal Head Start On-Reserve
Program. For more information, visit: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/news98/1029b_e.html
World health chiefs launch battle against
malaria. WASHINGTON (Reuters,Oct. 29, 1998) - World health leaders announced they
were declaring war on malaria, taking a whole new approach to fight the ancient disease.
The World Health Organization, World Bank, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the
U.N. Development Program said they would take on malaria, which kills a million people
every year, by strengthening the health services in developing nations and sweet-talking
private companies into helping out. WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said
although malaria kills 3,000 children every day and infects upward of 500 million people,
it has not received the attention that other diseases have.
To fight AIDS, help poor countries develop -
experts. WASHINGTON (Reuters, Sept. 17, 1998) - Helping poor countries develop
their economies is the key to fighting the spread of AIDS, experts told Congress late
Wednesday. They admitted that the United Nations AIDS program, UNAIDS, had a slow start,
but said that if the United States leads the way in stepping up funding it will be
possible to make significant inroads against the HIV virus. "This is a problem we can
never solve with only a medical approach," Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of
UNAIDS, told a hearing of the House International Relations Committee. "It's a
development problem. Countries have to invest in HIV care in the same way they invest in
any other development goals," he said.
"US Report Blasts UNAIDS" Nature
Medicine (Sept. 1998) Vol. 4, No. 9, P. 993; Birmingham, Karen The U.S. General
Accounting Office (GAO) conducted a study of the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS at the
request of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations (IR). The report stated
that UNAIDS has made limited progress towards generating worldwide support for AIDS
projects and that the organization failed to meet certain goals. In its defense, UNAIDS
asserted that the evaluation began only 18 months into the group's first biennium and
claimed that certain facts were presented from a negative standpoint. In the same report,
the GAO praised the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Benjamin Gilman,
chairman of the IR committee, said "If our government, through USAID and the Centers
for Disease Control can do a betterjob than the U.N. to combat [HIV/AIDS], then we should
shift funding to the more successful programs." The United States supplied 28 percent
of the biennial UNAIDS Secretariat budget for1996-1997.
Global panel suggests new body to monitor
oceans. LONDON (Reuters, Sept. 14, 1998) - A high-level global panel, alarmed by
increasing pollution of the oceans and the threat to marine life, called Monday for an
independent body along the lines of Amnesty International to act as world marine watchdog.
The call came in the official report of the Independent World Commission on the Oceans,
which is to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in November. The report
said once-productive fishing grounds had become seriously depleted, marine pollution was
getting worse, the rapid growth in world population was increasing pressure on the sea.
National consultations on Canada's health
protection program launched (9 September 1998)
The first of a series of nation-wide consultations on the future of the health protection
program in Canada was launched today by Health Canada. About 3,000 stakeholders concerned
with health protection issues were
invited to attend the consultations taking place across Canada in September and October.
Issues being considered are based on the recently released discussion papers entitled
"Health Protection for the 21st Century", which provides an overview of the
redesign for Health Canada's health protection program, and "Shared Responsibility,
Shared Vision", which outlines the legislative aspects of the renewal. The first
consultation workshops are being held today in Halifax. For more information, visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/archives/releases/98_55e.htm
Minister calls for national report card on
health care system (7 September 1998) "We will never restore
confidence in Canadian health care unless we have broader and better access to the
facts," said Mr. Rock. "Canadians deserve a report card, not ritual rhetoric.
This is the responsibility of all those involved in health care. I believe Canadians have
a right to know that their health dollars are being spent wisely. A right to know if the
system is getting better or worse. A right to know if the services they need are there,
whether the gaps are being closed." The Health Minister emphasized that a report card
is also a matter of responsible decision making. The people who deliver and manage health
care need to know what is working, and what is not, if they are to act on an informed
basis to allocate resources and adjust services based on clear knowledge. The Minister
outlined his position, in an address to the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical
Association in Whitehorse, Yukon. For more information, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/media/releases/1998/98_53e.htm
AUGUST 31, 1998 (Health Canada). OTTAWA, ONTARIO--Letter
to Health Minister Allan Rock from former members of the National Forum on Health. A
majority of former members of the National Health Forum reconvened recently in Ottawa at
Minister Rock's request. This letter summarized their observations about what has been
accomplished since the National Forum released its final report in February 1997 and
outlines new recommendations. The Forum's observations provide an important perspective
from a group of people who consulted Canadians widely over the future of the health
A report on the
following topic from Reuters news service may be found on the World Wide Web at:
FDA CAN'T REGULATE TOBACCO: COURT
A federal appeals court ruled Friday, August 14 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) does not have jurisdiction to regulate tobacco products. The Justice Department
announced it would appeal the ruling; tobacco companies issued a statement saying they are
"pleased" by the decision, and that they would take unspecified "meaningful
steps to reduce underage tobacco use."
By a two-to-one vote, three judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the FDA
overstepped its authority when it issued sweeping regulations in August 1996 that
restricted the sale of tobacco products
to minors and limited advertising and marketing by tobacco companies. The court concluded
that it was not the intent of Congress to give the FDA such authority.
The ruling reverses a lower court decision and hands the tobacco industry a huge victory
while hampering Clinton Administration efforts to use regulation to reduce youth smoking.
On April 25, 1997, a North Carolina U.S. District Judge ruled that the FDA could regulate
nicotine as a drug and tobacco products as drug- delivery devices, but had no authority to
restrict tobacco advertising.
President Clinton, in a written statement, "confirming the FDA's authority over
tobacco products is necessary to help stop young people from smoking before they
The ruling is likely to increase pressure on Congress to adopt tobacco legislation to
reduce youth smoking, according to state attorneys general who are in continuing talks
with the industry. Congress has all but given up on drafting a comprehensive tobacco bill
before adjourning in October.
Appellate Judge Kenneth Hall, in his lone dissent, said the FDA should be allowed to
regulate a product "estimated to cause some 400,000 deaths a year," especially
since its rules were aimed at reducing youth
"Inasmuch as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are responsible for illness and death
on a vast scale, FDA regulations aimed at curbing tobacco use by children cannot possibly
be contrary to the general intent of the (law)," he wrote.
The FDA's rules, designed to reduce underage smoking, have been on hold while the case
worked its way through the courts. The appeals court initially heard arguments in the case
in August 1997, but a ruling was
delayed after the death of one of the original judges on the three-judge panel.
AIDS-Thailand: Crisis Inflicts More Pain IPS Wire (06/18/98)
Health experts in Thailand say the country's estimated 1 million HIV-positive people are
the ones most affected by the country's current economic crisis. On top of fighting
personal and social problems, HIV-infected Thais are also feeling additional pressure from
being denied subsidized medical care and financial support as a result of the trimming of
health care budgets; health workers are concerned that the lack of government subsidies
for expensive drugs like AZT may put the lives of HIV-positive citizens in danger. Since
1992, Thailand has provided AZT free of cost to all HIV/AIDS patients through a drug
program initiated by the National AIDS Prevention and Control Committee; at the outset of
the program, Thailand had about 50,000 HIV cases, costing about 35 million baht for AZT,
but the number of infections has risen significantly since then. The health budget,
already stretched due to the rising number of HIV-infected individuals, has been slashed
even further under the economic crisis; health workers also note that Glaxo Wellcome's
plans to lower the cost of AZT for pregnant women with HIV/AIDS in the developing world
may have minimal impact on Thai mothers with the disease.
Science & Health Bulletin: Africa-WHO Urges Prevention PANA Wire Service (06/10/98);
The regional director of Africa for the World Health Organization, Ibrahima Samba,
recently asserted that preventative measures must be increased in Africa. Samba noted that
"with our level of poverty and the high cost of treatment, not even curing HIV/AIDS,
the only hope for Africa is prevention." As of December 1997, there were an estimated
20.8 million HIV/AIDS cases in sub-Saharan Africa, which has a population of about 600
million. Samba said that countries should follow the lead of Uganda and Tanzania in
bringing the spread of the virus under control. He also said that treatment costs are
expensive pread of HIV. South Africa has bought 1.5 million female condoms, while Uganda
bought 1.2 million and Zambia and Zimbabwe also made significant purchases. According to
the president of Female Health, Mary Ann Leeper, one-fifth of Botswana's sexually active
population has AIDS and the average lifespan has dropped by about 20 years. More women
than men are infected with HIV in Uganda, with the most infected group aged 20 to 30 years
old. While the female condom does not seem to be as popular as the male condom, studies
with female sex workers in Thailand found that among women who had both options available
to them, there was a 34 percent decrease in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases and
a 25 percent decrease in the number of unprotected sex acts, compared to women who only
had male condoms available to them. The female condom, a prelubricated, disposable
polyurethane sheath that is inserted into the vaginal canal prior to intercourse, allows
women to control contraception without male consent, providing another option for women
with limited contraception choices.
"The Failing Health of Burma's People" Boston Globe (06/15/98)
P. A15; Chelala, Cesar
Burma's health status has deteriorated since a military junta in 1988. According to
UNICEF, the infant mortality rate two years ago was 105 per 1,000 live births, versus 33
in Vietnam, 31 in Thailand, and 11 in Malaysia. Additionally, many children are born
underweight and up to 12 percent of children are severely malnourished. Much of the
problem is due to a lack of potable water; diarrheal diseases account for 18 percent of
deaths in children under five years. Poor sanitation leads to annual cholera outbreaks and
medication is scarce. Fewer than 60 percent of children nationwide are reached by
immunization programs. Maternal mortality rates are 580 per 100,000 live births, more than
seven times the rate in Malaysia and 58 times greater than in Singapore. Many of maternal
deaths are due to induced abortion. There is also a lack of adequate health care providers
in the country, and only 10 percent of rural women have access to a midwife. Furthermore,
the World Health Organization estimates that half a million people in the country are
infected with HIV-nearly 1 percent of the population. Some experts believe the actual
number of HIV infections is much higher.
Over Two Million Ugandans Carry HIV Africa News Service (06/15/98);
Omwony Ojok, director general of the Uganda AIDS Commission, estimates that between 1.8
million to 2 million people in the country may be infected with HIV, about 10 percent of
the total population. He also noted that 10 percent of children under 12 may be infected.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Kampala AIDS Walk, Ojok said that while HIV rates have
declined in the cities since 1992, rural areas need increased service. The official was
joined by Janet Museveni, who encouraged programs to help rural communities learn how to
care for AIDS patients and orphans.
Prisoners Should Not Be Condemned to AIDS Sentence Africa News Service
(06/15/98); Inambao, Chrispin
In Namibia, the Deputy Minister of Prisons and Correctional Services, Michaela Hubschle,
announced that the rate of HIV transmission in the country's prisons is very high and
increasing at a substantial pace. Speaking to prisoners in Windhoek, Hubschle said,
"The activities in prisons that spread HIV, notably sex and drug abuse, are widely
considered as criminal within the prison environment. When these practices are discovered,
they are usually met with disciplinary measures, not health measures." The official
noted that problems in maintaining proper hygiene levels in prisons has contributed to the
spread of HIV, and she called for the right to health, security, equality before the law,
and freedom from inhuman treatment for the prisoners.
Health Department to Screen Johor Sex Workers for HIV" Star Online (06/14/98)
Dr. Rosli Ismail, head of the state health office's AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases
division in Johor, Malaysia, has announced that sex workers in the region will be screened
for HIV. The state Health Department and police will carry out the testing. Last year a
similar operation was conducted when 31 workers were tested; all tested negative for HIV.
Since 1991, 36 sex workers have tested positive for the virus, but Ismail said that
current data does not reflect the scope of the disease and that many of the sex workers do
not get voluntarily tested regularly. He noted that "there are those who go for
screenings only once a year and think that they are safe from the disease after testing
negative. They do not realize that at the time of the screening, the results only reflect
their past lifestyle." However, he added that many of the workers took precautions
because they were now aware of HIV and AIDS.
Health-Latin America: AIDS Increasing Among Poor, Rural, Heterosexuals, and Women IPS Wire
Argentinean sociologist and public health expert Mario Bronsman reports that HIV is
increasingly prevalent among poor people, people in rural areas, women, and heterosexuals
in Latin America. Additionally, vertical mother-to-child HIV transmission has been an
increasing problem due to the increasing number of women infected. According to
Bronsman-one of several Latin American experts working on an HIV/AIDS program supported by
five United Nations agencies-the problem in rural areas is not due to a greater number of
cases than in urban areas, but to a faster spread of the disease among the rural
population, with HIV rates taking less time to double. Paulo Texeira, another member of
the U.N. group, notes that homosexual and bisexual transmission were declining throughout
the world, but that heterosexual transmission rates, particularly among women, were
increasing. In addition, by year-end 1997, 19 percent of the 1.3 million people in Latin
America with AIDS were female. Meanwhile, U.N. health experts have found that only 60
percent of the HIV-infected population in Brazil has a primary school education. Brazil
has promised treatment for all infected patients, with $700 million pending in aid.
Bronsman suggested that preventative efforts be aimed at the most vulnerable groups,
particularly women and young people. U.N. statistics indicate that worldwide, there were
30.6 million people with AIDS at the end of 1997, with 90 percent of these people residing
in the developing world.
Vietnam Reports Doubling in HIV Cases Since 1996 Reuters (06/17/98)
An official at the Vietnamese National AIDS Protection Committee announced Wednesday that
the country's HIV-positive population has more than doubled since 1996. The agency reports
that there are now 8,708 HIV infections in the 78 million-person country, with over 1,200
cases of AIDS. Other estimates suggest that the HIV rate is much higher than officially
reported, however. The Vietnam News has reported that 57 of the country's 61 provinces
have reported HIV infections. Southern Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, was
found to have the most infections, with 2,638 cases.
High AIDS Death Rate in Zambia Worries WHO Africa News Service (06/16/98)
The World Health Organization said that despite efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS
in Africa, there are deep concerns over the high rates for morbidity and mortality rates
for the disease in the region, which it deems unacceptably high. In response to the
problem, the WHO launched a new initiative that aims to mobilize the African leadership,
create more effective intervention strategies, and to foster stronger partner cooperation.
Despite comprising just 10 percent of the world's population, Africa has over 70 percent
of the world's HIV/AIDS cases, according to the regional WHO director for Africa, Ephraim
Samba. Samba noted that the virus is most affecting the country's working population, aged
15 to 40 years old.
JULY 6, 1998
OTTAWA, ONTARIO-Health Minister Allan Rock released two discussion papers to initiate
public consultations into the modernization of Health Canada's Health Protection Program.
The two papers are part of a two to three year project to strengthen federal health
protection programs for the next century through renewal of federal health protection
legislation, improved tools for monitoring disease and managing risks to health, and
providing the Department with the best scientific advice and health protection programs to
meet its responsibilities.
The Honourable Allan Rock
Federal Minister of Health
16th Floor, Brooke Claxton Building
Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Dear Minister Rock:
Thank you for inviting us to reconvene and for meeting with us to discuss our views
regarding health and health care, 18 months after we have submitted "Canada Health
Action: Building on the Legacy". Following up as requested, we hereby offer our major
thoughts, organized to conform to the structure of our Report.
- Preserving our health care system by doing things differently (preserving and protecting
Medicare; building a more integrated system)
We continue to feel strongly that the fundamentals of Medicare are sound and that the
Canadian health care system must remain founded on the bedrock of the single-payer
publicly financed model. We believe this model of health insurance to be under serious
attack coming from two main lines of argument.
One argument opposes Medicare in principle and advocates privately financed health care as
the superior alternative. The other claims support for Medicare in principle but concludes
that it is seriously underfunded, and that its problems are only remediable by an infusion
of money. Interestingly enough, these claims have
repeatedly surfaced at times of fiscal deficit and now in a time of anticipated surplus.
While the fundamental objectives of advocates for these positions are diametrically
opposed, both spread fear and create public anxiety; in effect, they are working together
to generate public support.
Their arguments gain added credibility from the fact that the privately funded proportion
of health expenditures in Canada is second highest among G7 countries, increasing from 24
percent to 31 percent from 1975 to 1997. Much of this increase has been driven by greater
private financing for pharmaceuticals and community-based services. These figures contrast
sharply with the current OECD average of 23 percent private financing. This overall trend
parallels the federal government's declining share of public expenditures, from 42 percent
(1978) and 38 percent (1988) to the current low of 29 percent. This trend also coincides
with fiscal restraint and reductions in spending by governments, which have been
particularly pronounced over the last several years. Among other factors, it would appear
that these fiscal pressures are contributing to federal/provincial tensions surrounding
health care. The reduction in the public share of funding in the health care system is
serving to bolster the claims of those who state that an increasingly private system is
inevitable, and allege that governments have abandoned their responsibilities.
The Forum recommended that a cash floor be established under the CHST, specifying that to
be $12.5 B. We maintained that this floor was essential to preserving the real and
symbolic leverage held by the federal government to maintain the Canada Health Act and
national standards. We were concerned that further reductions in the cash transfer would
adversely influence the rate and perhaps the direction of provincial reforms. We advocated
$12.5 B as a floor, not a ceiling. Moreover, neither we nor others appear able to
determine, with any certainty, the absolute amount of money that Canada should spend on
our health care system.
To the extent that the federal government intends to invest additional resources in
health care, it is the view of Forum members that allocating more money to Provinces
should strengthen Medicare and should be invested where there is the greatest likelihood
that it will produce tangible benefits. Recipients of funds should be accountable for
their use. The accountability framework could take the form of federal/provincial
which each province's priorities are taken into account, in relationship to national
goals, standards and principles. There should be requirements for public reporting of
achievements in meeting these goals and standards. For instance, report cards should be
regularly available to the public on indicators of system performance, agreed to in
advance by federal and provincial governments, and about which Canadians have expressed
legitimate concern: quality of care, access to services, public- private funding and
health of the population, etc.
Others have suggested that broadening public coverage for medically necessary
pharmaceuticals or home care represents "boutique" programs. We respectfully and
strongly disagree, and would point out that appropriate support for community-based
services simply reflects the need to deal with the ambulatory
shift. The goal is to ensure that the public does not assume new burdens and costs, such
as responsibility for services that were previously offered within institutions. In short,
fund the care, not the site. Most other OECD countries provide greater public coverage for
pharmaceuticals and home care.
We regret that in our Forum deliberations we were unable to spend enough time on the issue
of physicians' relationships to the health care system, including their remuneration and
models of practice. We believe these issues must be addressed much more fully. It is clear
to us that without primary care reform, structural problems and inappropriate incentives
will continue to constitute barriers to achieving greater system effectiveness and
efficiency, even if public funding for pharmaceutical coverage and home care expands.
Substantial obstacles also remain to institutional reform in acute care, in part arising
out of failure to integrate physicians more fully into the system. This, together
with restrained resources, is manifesting in growing anxiety about the system's capacities
and continued, poor understanding of waiting lists and queues for service.
We feel that the Health Transition Fund (HTF) should be renewed as a very promising
federal/provincial collaboration for generating evidence and evaluating innovation. While
understandably the processes for adjudicating proposals and allocating funds can be
fine-tuned, we are optimistic that the HTF can make major
contributions to areas such as generating standards and indicators of performance, and
promoting successful examples of restructuring which may be generalizable.
- Transforming our knowledge about health into action
In broader consideration of the non-medical determinants of health, the Forum remains
concerned that investments continue to be overly skewed towards health care services as
the primary, indeed almost our sole, strategy for improving population health.
We reiterate our view that investments in non-medical health determinants, disease and
disability prevention, and injury control will have greater payoffs than would otherwise
come from comparable money spent in health care delivery.
Forum members support the work and policy to expand the Child Tax Benefit, and to make the
tax system more equitable and advantageous to families with children. Additionally, we
need to see other concrete supports for children at risk, such as greatly strengthened
early intervention programs, more readily accessible to families in need. Continued and
unabated attention must focus on efforts towards the elimination of childhood poverty and
to buffering its effects.
Every occasion must be used to reinforce the notion that non-medical determinants of
health are centrally important issues for governments. These should be given at least as
much weight in policy decisions as is accorded to economic growth and enterprise.
- Using better evidence to make better decisions
Opinions and propaganda, much more than facts and evidence, appear to be governing
Canada's health care debates and, in our view the battle risks being won by those who have
an interest in undermining public confidence in Medicare. Regrettably, we often lack
objective information to counter claims, alarmist scenarios
and frightening anecdotes of either those in favour of private medicine, or others who
want governments to spend ever-increasing amounts on health care. We continue to be
seriously under-served by an inadequate capacity to measure performance. This leaves the
public to judge the impact of change through subjective
impressions and opinions, largely guided by the media and by those who stand to gain from
not having clear evidence available.
Accordingly, the federal government must support development and active dissemination of
fundamental tools to create a culture of evidence-based decision making. If we cannot or
do not measure system performance, Canadians will remain unable to reliably evaluate the
state of our health care system. Information systems
and the measurement and reporting of outcomes are key tools for the development of
meaningful national standards. Momentum should continue on the development of the Canadian
Health Info-structure and we should move expeditiously towards establishing the National
Population Health Institute, as recommended. Similarly, action needs to take place with
respect to developing the Aboriginal Health Institute, which remains as relevant and
appropriate as when originally suggested.
Research drives evidence generation. We are generally supportive of proposals for
increased research funding. However, for a renewed health research funding strategy to be
successful in improving the health of Canadians, it must be broadly based. In addition to
seeking biomedical understanding of diseases, we must
invest in understanding the broader determinants of health, in health services research
which can help us better manage the system, and in policy research which will help
transform our knowledge into effective action.
We continue to see a worrisome steering effect on health research by pharmaceutical
manufacturers who have a direct and material influence on the research agenda, and how
evidence is disseminated. Governments have underinvested in health research in Canada
compared to other G7 countries and, correspondingly, have encouraged investment from the
pharmaceutical industry. The federal government must ensure that expenditures are aligned
with sound public policy and health goals.
These initiatives will help, particularly in the long run, to enlighten the debate and the
public. But they will not solve the immediate problem of growing momentum among the
anti-Medicare factions. We believe Canadians are looking for their federal Minister of
Health to vigorously defend their most cherished social program. We would urge you to take
every opportunity to counter the unfounded charges and fearmongering.
In summary, Forum members believe Canada Health Action: Building on the Legacy remains
relevant and its recommendations have currency. We wish to re-emphasize the importance of
federal leadership at what we believe to be a critically important and crucial point in
time for Medicare, in order to insure that all Canadians continue to have appropriate
access to good health and health services.
We believe that a campaign to support Canadian Medicare should not result in conflict with
the Provinces. For years, Provinces have been pursuing substantially the same directions
in health care restructuring. In many respects, we have indicated our support for these
directions and we understand that the federal government
is also in substantial support. Consequently, given the current challenge to sustaining
our health care system, we believe that alignment between the federal and provincial
governments with respect to strategic directions and implementation is not only possible
but also more important now than ever, in order to enable both levels of government to
secure Medicare, which Canadians value so greatly.
Subject to our availability, Forum members reiterate and reaffirm their offer of
assistance to you, Minister Rock, as and when you deem appropriate.
National Forum on Health
The discussion paper Health Protection For The
21st Century provides an overview of the initiative and Shared Responsibility, Shared
Vision describes the legislative aspect of the review and suggests many of the key
questions that will need to be addressed. These papers will be widely distributed
to Canadians, including partners, stakeholders and other interested parties concerned
about health protection issues.
A number of changes in the global environment affecting health risks have challenged
Health Canada's health protection program in recent years. The threat of new and
re-emerging infections, innovative drugs and medical devices, new technologies, and
globalization have all had an impact on public health and the work of health protection.
Minister Rock said, "As Canadians, we place a premium on our
personal health and our health care system. Many of the rapid changes taking place in
science and technology means that we must modernize our public health system so it can
effectively serve the needs of our children and grandchildren."
Health Canada's Science Advisory Board appointed by the Minister to provide expert,
independent advice, was consulted on the consultation documents. Chaired by Dr. Roberta
Bondar, the Board is made up of scientists, health professionals, consumer advocates and
others with expertise in public health. Dr. Bondar said, "These documents are a good
start for a dialogue about health protection in Canada. What they need now is to be
fleshed out by the considered input of concerned Canadians from across the spectrum."
Because the outcome of the Transition project will touch the lives of all Canadians, the
participation of citizens and stakeholders is crucial. Provincial and territorial partners
will be consulted as well as health organizations, consumer associations, industry,
advocacy groups, professional associations and concerned Canadians. A number of
consultation sessions to be held in cities across Canada are planned for this fall.
Canadians who want to receive a copy of the two papers can call a toll free number at
1-888-288-2098. The Health Protection Branch Transition team also has a website where the
two papers and other key documents can be found at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb/transitn/index.html
Copies of the two discussion papers on the modernization of Health
Canada's Health Protection Program can also be obtained from:
Publications - Health Canada, Brooke Claxton Building
Address Locator 0913A
Ottawa, Ontario, KlA OK9
Tel: (613) 954-5995 Fax: (613) 941-5366
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