Manitoba

Kidney health clinic in Winnipeg offers tests, info to aboriginal adults

The Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg and the Kidney Foundation of Canada's Manitoba branch hosted a screening clinic on Friday where indigenous adults could learn more about diabetes and kidney disease.

Indigenous people experience higher rates of diabetes and kidney disease

Kidney health clinic in Winnipeg offers tests, info to aboriginal adults

6 years ago
1:48
The Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg and the Kidney Foundation of Canada's Manitoba branch hosted a screening clinic on Friday where indigenous adults could learn more about diabetes and kidney disease 1:48

The Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg and the Kidney Foundation of Canada's Manitoba branch hosted a screening clinic on Friday where indigenous adults could learn more about diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease, and aboriginal people experience higher rates of both diseases, according to the kidney foundation.

People age 18 and older lined up to be tested at Friday's clinic, which ran until 2:30 p.m. at the Aboriginal Centre on Higgins Avenue.

Pharmacists were on hand to go over test results with participants. The clinic also offered presentations and information booths on managing and preventing diabetes.

Carrie Bird, in red sweater, and others wait in line for kidney screening tests at a clinic held at the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg on Friday. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)
Kelly Deveau, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator who did a presentation at the clinic, said the event aims to attract people who may already have the symptoms of diabetes but aren't totally sure whether they have it.

"We want to engage and empower people so they can lead a healthy life without several admissions to the hospital or an early death," she said.

Deveau said while it's not known how much more prevalent diabetes is within the indigenous community, it is an issue of concern.

"We're just figuring out that one in every three people that I've seen recently … seems to have a risk factor for diabetes or pre-diabetes. It is very high in the over-40, the aboriginal population and the immigrant population. It's huge right now," she said.

'I want to make healthier choices'

Among those who came to Friday's clinic was Carrie Bird, 23, who said her grandfather and aunt have diabetes, so she wanted to make sure she's staying healthy during her pregnancy.

"I want to make healthier choices for me and my family, just so we can be healthy and not be at risk for diabetes," she said.

"I've seen my grandfather struggle through diabetes and going through dialysis, and it hurt my heart to watch him go through that."
Bird, left, speaks with a pharmacist about her kidney screening test results at Friday's clinic. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

The event was held a day before World Diabetes Day, which is on Saturday. It's organized in partnership with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association and the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre.

Holly MacLean, acting wellness director with the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, said diabetes affects many in the indigenous community, but the event offers resources that can help people make better health choices.

"It can be somewhat of a challenging thing to live with. There's a lot of stress that can go into managing diabetes well, and so when we come together and have resources around that then it tends to help people out in managing their diabetes better," she said.

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