Fix infant health problems in Canada, too, Stephen Harper told

TheStar.com – Health/Healthzone.ca

January 30, 2010 THE CANADIAN PRESS

Two Inuit leaders say Prime Minister Stephen Harper should look to the Arctic if he wants to improve the health of newborn children.

“We’re hopeful he’ll tackle this issue in his own backyard,” Pita Aatami, head of Makivik Corp., which oversees the land claim of Quebec Inuit, said Friday. “If you’re going to talk the talk, you might as well practise it in your own country.”

On Thursday, Harper repeated his pledge before international leaders in Davos, Switzerland, to make child and maternal health in developing nations a priority at the G8 summit in Canada later this year.

Inuit infant mortality is nearly four times the Canadian average and 70 per cent of Inuit preschoolers live in homes where there isn’t always enough food.

In a blog post Friday, Mary Simon, head of Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami, wrote: “Canada, as one of the eight most prosperous countries in the world, has a significant responsibility in assisting those in the world’s poorest regions. We hope the Inuit region in Canada is included on a similar list to take care of the issues inside our own country.”

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