New Qikiqtani Medical Association aims to improve health care

Thirteen physicians who work in Iqaluit are part of the newly formed Qikiqtani Medical Association, which aims to ‘provide a unified voice and an informed voice of advocacy for our patients,’ says president Katherine Canil.

Nunavut now has an official organization to advocate for patients.

The newly-formed Qikiqtani Medical Association is a voluntary, independent organization made up of 13 physicians who live and work full time in Nunavut.

"As physicians we're in the front line and we have a unique perspective on patient-care issues,” says Katherine Canil, the association's president.

Canil has been working in the territorial capital for 18 years.

"These just aren't our patients, these are our co-workers, our friends, our relatives, people we see in the grocery store. We all live here and want the best for everyone that lives in our community."

Canil says, all together, the association's 13 members have more than 100 years of health-care experience. 

They plan to work with different levels of government and other organizations to achieve their goals.

“And we have many goals but the main one is to provide a unified voice and an informed voice of advocacy for our patients and for issues we see impact the health care of our region."

Canil says Nunavut is faced with serious issues such as a "revolving door of family doctors," and pregnant women who have to leave their family to give birth.

She also says the medical travel policy should be less strict to allow the family to be with the expectant mother, and they want to see a maternity care home created.

Eventually, the group hopes to become a territory-wide organization.

The group also hopes to bring Nunavut issues to the national stage in August, by attending the Canadian Medical Association annual general meeting in Ottawa.