The truth is out there
KIA hopes inquiry will resolve medical issues

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Sep 17/97) - The Kivalliq Inuit Association and Kivalliq mayors are calling for a public inquiry into the Keewatin Regional Health Board.

The announcement came last Thursday, only a few hours after Health Minister Kelvin Ng said an internal review will be launched by his deputy minister, David Ramsden into recent health board decisions.

"I recognize that to improve the health and well-being of our resident, we need the support of not only Boards and care providers, but that of community leaders and the public themselves," said Ng. "In that context, I look forward to receiving the results of the review."

Paul Kaludjak, president of KIA appreciates Ng's "in-house" efforts but says an independent inquiry and a judicial review into the KRHB is what's needed to clarify matters.

He said KIA needs to know if a recent board decision to sever ties with the Northern Medical Unit was done to improve medical services to the Keewatin or to meet profit initiatives of local companies.

The same situation exists over a decision to get rid of the dental therapists and bring in Kiguti, a private clinic.

"KIA has long seen this as a potential problem and we've studied it. The board has determined that there's a need for a public review so that concerns and demands can be brought to the attention of the general public," said Kaludjak.

A letter has been sent to Commissioner, Helen Maksagak requesting the inquiry.

Kaludjak said only then will they find out the truth behind the KRHB.

If an inquiry and a review is done, they can find out whether or not the board should reconsider NMU's contract and maintain the status quo until 1999.

"We want to safeguard our Inuit from a decrease of medical services. We realize there's fiscal restraint but the health services are so important to the people we represent and we don't want it to deteriorate any worse than it has," said Kaludjak.

KIA's request for a public inquiry is number four.

Kevin O'Brien, Kivallivik MLA called for one on Aug. 27. Rankin Inlet hamlet council requested one Aug. 14 and The Union of Northern Workers asked for one July 21.

To all four requests, Ng said a public inquiry would turn up nothing. He believes health board decisions are sound and that accusations and innuendos about conflict of interest are unsubstantiated.