One of Canada’s strongest international voices in the fight against AIDS is turning his attention to what he calls the shocking incidence of tuberculosis in his country’s own backyard.
Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy on AIDS/HIV, says the federal government should release all information it has on Inuit taken south for TB treatment in the 1950s and ’60s.
Many Inuit don’t even know where family members are buried, and Lewis says that’s still creating ripples of trauma through Arctic communities.
Lewis says tuberculosis, a disease of poverty and overcrowding, is present in 17 out of 25 Nunavut communities.
He says it’s unacceptable for Canadian citizens to live under such conditions, which he compares to some of the situations he’s seen in places like sub-Saharan Africa.