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Quebec to hire more nurses to address overcrowding in north after death of 10 infants

In this photo taken using a drone, the village of Inukjuak, Que., is seen on the shores of the Hudson Bay, Thursday, May 12, 2022.In this photo taken using a drone, the village of Inukjuak, Que., is seen on the shores of the Hudson Bay, Thursday, May 12, 2022.

MONTREAL – Well being officers in northern Quebec say they’re attempting to rent extra nurses and Inuit employees after a coroner’s report launched final month linked the deaths of 10 infants within the area to overcrowding.

A recruitment drive is underway to rent extra nurses to vaccinate kids in opposition to illness and supply preventive health-care companies to the Inuit communities of Nunavik, Ariane Bedard, spokesperson for the Nunavik Regional Board of Well being and Social Providers, stated Thursday in an e mail.

You are reading: Quebec to hire more nurses to address overcrowding in north after death of 10 infants

Bedard stated the well being company can be attempting to rent Inuit employees who perceive the wants of residents and who can converse Inuktitut. However she didn’t say how the company would straight handle the overcrowding issues talked about within the report by Quebec coroner Geneviève Thériault.

She referred all questions on overcrowding to the native housing bureau, which didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

“The state of affairs could be very complicated, and sadly, the (COVID-19) pandemic has enormously weakened front-line companies in Nunavik, as elsewhere,” Bedard stated.

In her report, Thériault known as on the provincial and federal governments to take a position the mandatory sources to rapidly supply protected social housing to households within the northern area of Quebec. She targeted on the loss of life of three-month-old Jaylen Etok, who died in April 2021 within the Inuit village of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

The toddler, the coroner stated, slept in the identical mattress as adults as a result of the kid didn’t have a crib or a cradle. Thériault stated variations of what occurred to the kid are contradictory.

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On April 25, 2021, the toddler was asleep on his again on a double mattress. The adults current within the dwelling had consumed alcohol and a few had consumed hashish, the coroner stated. One grownup fell asleep on the identical mattress because the child boy between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Witness accounts differ, however a second grownup might have additionally fallen asleep within the mattress someday after, Thériault stated.

The coroner stated that in keeping with one model of occasions, the second grownup walked into the room and located the boy inert and mendacity on his again on the mattress, away from the primary grownup. In one other model of occasions, the primary grownup woke as much as discover the boy beneath the arm of the second grownup, who awoke and both rolled on prime of the child or held the kid intently.

“It’s unattainable for me to find out which model is extra believable,” Thériault stated.

“The reason for loss of life of little Jaylen Etok stays undetermined …. It’s due to this fact tough for me to conclude whether or not the loss of life was attributable to asphyxiation by suffocation.”

Nevertheless, she additionally drew related conclusions in circumstances involving 9 different infants in Nunavik who additionally died in 2021 of undetermined causes or sudden toddler loss of life syndrome. The coroner stated overcrowding was a recurring danger think about all of these deaths.

“Thus, in my view, to scale back the chance of sudden toddler loss of life syndrome in Nunavik, a number of issues needs to be in place,” she stated. “To begin with, it appears pressing to me to make sure entry for every household to wholesome housing of acceptable measurement for the scale of the family.”

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Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada stated in an e mail that in 2022, the federal authorities budgeted $845 million over 5 years for Indigenous housing. The division didn’t specify if any actions had been being taken within the quick time period to scale back overcrowding in Quebec’s Nunavik area.

Quebec’s secretariat for relations with First Nations and Inuit peoples stated it wouldn’t remark earlier than studying the coroner’s report — dated Oct. 6.

In the meantime, Quebec’s Well being Division stated it would “take be aware” of the coroner’s report. In an e mail, spokesperson Marie-Claude Lacasse stated that inside a three-month interval, the province will comply with up on the coroner’s advice that the division quickly improve the variety of front-line employees in Nunavik, comparable to midwives, household medical doctors and pediatricians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Nov. 10, 2022.

This story was produced with the monetary help of the Meta and Canadian Press Information Fellowship.

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