Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik October 11, 2017 - 10:00 am

Nunavik’s 2017 health survey wraps as number-crunching begins

"This is going to make our lives a lot easier for things that need to be done"

SARAH ROGERS
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services director Minnie Grey, far right, talks with survey participant Sarah Airo during Qanuilirpitaa’s stop in Kangirsuk last month. (PHOTO COURTESY OF QANUILIRPITAA)
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services director Minnie Grey, far right, talks with survey participant Sarah Airo during Qanuilirpitaa’s stop in Kangirsuk last month. (PHOTO COURTESY OF QANUILIRPITAA)
Nunavimmiut board the CCGS Amundsen Aug. 29 off the coast of Inukjuak. (PHOTO BY YVES CHOQUETTE)
Nunavimmiut board the CCGS Amundsen Aug. 29 off the coast of Inukjuak. (PHOTO BY YVES CHOQUETTE)

As soon as Dr. Françoise Bouchard arrived in Puvirnituq Sept. 4 to participate in part of the Qanuilirpitaa Inuit health survey, the research icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen, was called out to do a search and rescue in Frobisher Bay.

All’s well that ends well; the missing boaters were found safe and the Amundsen returned to Nunavik two days later, on Sept. 6.

It was one of a number of minor blips throughout the seven-week, 14-community survey, which wrapped up Oct. 5 in Kuujjuaq.

“We certainly had to adjust our plans along the way,” said Bouchard, who is director of public health at the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.

The Amundsen crew faced difficult weather from the get-go, delaying its launch in Kuujjuaraapik, while high winds hampered visits to some communities along the Ungava coast.

“It was a challenge, but overall, we reached our goal,” Bouchard said. “And it was a very good experience seeing the team at work.”

A team of 40 health care professionals, lab technicians, researchers and interpreters co-ordinated the health survey—the second done in Nunavik, roughly 13 years after the inaugural Qanuipitaa in 2004.

The 2017 survey first sought to gather a snapshot of the mental and physical condition of some 2,000 Nunavimmiut, but it was soon evident researchers would have to settle for fewer participants—just over 1,300.

“We’re pleased with that,” Bouchard said. “It will allow up to do what we wanted to do.”

Qanuilirpitaa is led by the regional health board and other regional organizations, in collaboration with Quebec’s Institut national de santé publique du Québec (institute of public health) and Université de Laval’s health research centre.

Though a major part of the survey has come to an end, Bouchard said this marks the beginning of a new, two- to three-year long process of sorting data and crunching numbers.

The Qanuilirpitaa team will spend the next couple of months assessing the data they’ve gathered and inputting it into a database.

From that point, researchers will work with Nunavik’s 14 mayors and Qanuilirpitaa’s steering committee to decide what to prioritize, or which survey results Nunavimmiut want to access first.

The hope is the new data will translate into better funding and health services for the region.

“I can scream and yell to the governments all I want,” said Kuujjuaq mayor Tunu Napartuk, a member of the steering committee. “But when I show up with the community component part of Qanuilirpitaa… I can go to the governments and say: ‘This is what we think and now what are you going to do to help us.’

“This is going to make our lives a lot easier for things that need to be done in my community.”

The first survey results should be released by the summer or fall of 2018, Bouchard said.

In the meantime, Nunavik’s public health department is working on another project related to Qanuilirpitaa.

In each community it visited, two secondary-level students were invited aboard the Amundsen to observe how the survey was organized.

Bouchard said the goal is to help integrate some of Qanuilirpitaa’s work into the region’s school curriculum.

“For us, it’s important to promote that interest in health science,” she said.

“We’re quite impressed with the reception from the communities. People felt they were contributing to their own futures.”

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share

 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING