Provinces and Territories Working Together on H1N1 Pandemic Flu Response
Provincial and territorial health care systems have plans in place to address the pandemic. Provinces and territories have stockpiles of antivirals, are finalizing vaccine distribution plans and have mechanisms in place to monitor the progress of the disease in their jurisdictions.
"Today, provincial and territorial ministers shared their experiences and lessons learned in dealing with the H1N1 flu pandemic and their plans to work together to protect all Canadians," said Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald, chair of the Provincial-Territorial Conference of Ministers of Health. "Provincial and territorial ministers are looking forward to meeting with the federal government this afternoon to talk about ways to further strengthen the national response to the pandemic."
Health ministers also look forward to definitive action by the federal government to secure a stable supply of medical isotopes for critical diagnostic tests to continue to provide urgent and timely care for patients. The ministers are calling on the federal government to provide compensation for extra costs incurred due to the shutdown of the federally-owned Chalk River nuclear reactor, which has been shut down since May 2009.
"Canadians need a stable supply of medical isotopes for critical diagnostic tests for a host of medical conditions," said Oswald. "We need assurances from the federal government that it is taking actions to correct the problem."
The ministers also emphasized the importance of health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management in improving the health of all Canadians, especially during the pandemic. Ministers agreed the prevention of disease and disability plays a critical role in improving the health of the population while reducing costs to the health care system, and committed to making healthy living a priority.
This morning, ministers also discussed improving the mobility of health care professionals across Canada. In the meeting with the federal minister this afternoon, the ministers will raise the release of the federal budget commitment of $500 million in additional funding for Canada Health Infoway to help transform the health care system through better information management systems.