Communicable Disease Control Division

Communicable Disease Control Division (CDCD) programs aim to reduce the incidence, spread and human health effects of communicable diseases. They also aim to improve health through disease prevention and health promotion activities among on-reserve First Nations and Inuit communities south of 60. The burden of communicable diseases remains of particular concern in some on-reserve First Nations and Inuit communities and can be linked to common underlying risk factors which enable further exposure and spread of disease. Significantly elevated levels of communicable diseases (such as Tuberculosis and HIV, as well as HIV-TB co-infection) are further complicated by issues of remoteness, limited access to health services, social stigmatization, and socioeconomic issues.

CDCD programs and initiatives support public health measures to mitigate these underlying risk factors by:

  • preventing, treating and controlling cases and outbreaks of communicable diseases (e.g.,immunization, screening, directly observed therapy activities);
  • promoting public education and awareness to encourage healthy practices;
  • strengthening community capacity (e.g., to prepare for and respond to pandemic influenza); and
  • identifying risks (e.g., surveillance, reporting)

In collaboration with its partners, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, other First Nations and Inuit Health Branch service programs, non-governmental organizations, provincial health authorities, and First Nations and Inuit leadership, CDCD programming focuses on vaccine-preventable diseases, blood-borne diseases and sexually transmitted infections, Tuberculosis respiratory infections, and communicable disease emergencies. These partners work closely together to support the delivery of culturally appropriate activities and approaches in communicable disease programming. A number of these activities are closely linked with those undertaken in the environmental health programming area, particularly as they relate to waterborne, foodborne and zoonotic infectious diseases. All programming is built on the four elements of: service delivery; public health education and awareness; capacity development; and surveillance, data collection and evaluation. The target population (i.e., First Nations on-reserve, Inuit communities south of 60) may change depending on the program and specific activity.

The immunization program focuses on increasing uptake of routine infant series and preschool immunization as well as routine immunization across the lifespan. The overall expected outcomes are to improve coverage rates for routine immunizations, reduce Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD) incidence and outbreaks, and enhance the development of enhanced immunization surveillance systems.

Blood Borne Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections

The BBSTI-HIV/AIDS program focuses on prevention, education, awareness and community capacity building, and facilitates access to quality diagnosis, care, treatment, and social support.

The tuberculosis program aims to reduce the incidence and burden of TB disease in First Nations on-reserve through strong partnerships that support the vision of sustainable, equitable and effective TB prevention and control.

The Communicable Disease Emergencies (CDE) initiative is responsible for ensuring that the special considerations and needs of First Nation communities are reflected in overall pandemic influenza planning, for which the Public Health Agency of Canada is the lead in Canada. In First Nation communities, the CDE initiative supports the development, strengthening and testing of community pandemic plans and their integration into broader community preparedness and response plans. In the event of an influenza pandemic, it also supports communities' responses.

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