Vancouver, B.C - Shocking statistics uncovered by Dr. Funmi Okunola, MD, in the new podcast, ‘Covid-19 The Answers,’ spotlights Indigenous Peoples as being disproportionately affected by the pandemic; at the rate of two and a half times that of other Canadians.
“As a result of historical Colonial practices, Indigenous People have suffered significant human rights abuses and continue to suffer racism in the health system.” stated Dr. Okunola, MD. The captivating 50 minute interview discusses the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Indigenous People of Canada with Dr. Evan Adams, MD.
As a member of the Tla'amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Dr. Adams is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Indigenous Services Canada and was the first appointed Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia Canada, and is held in high regard.
“The pandemic was absolutely frightening for all of us. Particularly for our many small communities.” declared Dr. Adams. There are about 650 different First Nations communities in Canada. Because of their remoteness and size, many don't have tertiary care. They were identified early on as being vulnerable, just on a geographic basis. “If they got Covid-19 they would have very few means to help stop an outbreak, or to care for those who were sick” Dr. Adams also remarked.
Unsurprisingly, there are other risk factors involved in the high figures. Indigenous Peoples have an elevated risk compared to the average Canadian, due to poverty, disenfranchisement and abuse from colonial practices resulting in the poorest health of any ethnic group in the country.
Dr. Evan Adams, MD, said, “Our people did really well at the beginning, because we were so remote and in part, because we protected our borders and communities from importation. We literally set up roadblocks and asked peoples’ business going in and out of our tiny communities. But eventually our infection rate, mortality rate and our complication rate were worse than other Canadians. About two and a half times worse.”
Interestingly, in the new podcast ‘Covid-19 The Answers,’ Dr. Adams explains to Dr. Okunola how his team scaled up and executed the national Covid-19 vaccination program for the Indigenous People of Canada and achieved a 80%, two-shot vaccination rate on reserves, up to a year before the same figure was achieved nationally. “Our infection rate was quite high, but we also noted that our complication rate for hospitalizations and death was around three quarters lower than other Canadians” said Dr. Evan Adams, MD.
About Covid-19 The Answers
“Covid-19 The Answers” is a free 15-episode scientific, evidence-based educational podcast, which helps listeners understand Covid-19 and supports navigating a pathway back to pre-Covid living, SAFELY. The podcast can be found on all your favourite podcast players, YouTube and via https://kojalamedical.com/covid19theanswers
“Indigenous Peoples” is a collective name for the Original Peoples of North America and their descendants, often Aboriginal Peoples is also used. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal Peoples Indians more commonly referred to as First Nations, Inuit and Metis. These are three distinct Peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
More than 1.6 million people in Canada identify themselves as an Aboriginal person according to the 2016 census. The United Nations and the World Health Organization
speaks of at least 80 countries that have Original Peoples and Indigenous populations.
Dr Evan Adams, MD, was the first ever Aboriginal health physician advisor in the office of the Provincial Health Officer and became the Deputy Provincial Health Officer in the Province of British Columbia Canada. In 2014 he became the first Chief Medical Officer for the newly formed First Nations Health Authority in BC.
Dr Adams is currently the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Indigenous Services Canada.
Dr. Funmi Okunola (Pronounced Foo-mi Ok-u-nola) is a practicing Physician and Covid Advisor in BC.
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