Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Indigenous Women Suffer Greatest Risk of Injury

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Indigenous Women Suffer Greatest Risk of Injury

Article excerpt

Indigenous women suffer greatest risk of injury

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Authors: Mariana Brussoni, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia and M. Anne George, Associate Professor Emerita Pediatrics, University of British Columbia

Indigenous peoples are more likely to suffer an injury than non-Indigenous peoples -- in Canada and many other nations. This includes injuries at work, falls, transport, suicides, assaults and even injuries resulting from medical errors.

Indigenous women, and those who live on reserve or in rural or remote areas, are at greatest risk of injury, according to results from our research project, Injury in British Columbia's Aboriginal Communities, that we conducted with colleagues Andrew Jin, Christopher E. Lalonde and Rod McCormick.

This research suggests that addressing inequalities -- in income, education, employment, housing conditions and other markers of disadvantage -- will help narrow the gap.

It is clear that this gap will not close, however, so long as the effects of post-colonial trauma, racism and discrimination persist.

Decline in injury hospitalizations

As part of the "RISC" research project, we studied 25 years of injury hospitalization, primary care and worker's compensation data to learn more about patterns of injury rates across time and among different Indigenous communities and population groups in British Columbia.

The good news is that we found dramatic reductions over time in rates of injury among the total population and the Indigenous population, in all categories of injury.

This pattern applies to both children and adults, people living in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, Indigenous people living on- and off-reserve and to major categories of injury including transportation, falls, injuries resulting from medical errors and intentional injuries (both self-injury and assaults).

Indigenous women at greater risk

While these reductions are encouraging, there are still many reasons for serious concern. By the end of our study period in 2010, the Indigenous population remained at 1.1 to 2.8 times greater risk of injury than the total population. The exact risk depends on the category of injury.

Indigenous populations living on reserves or in rural or remote areas are at greatest risk of being injured. While the overall difference in risk between Indigenous and total populations has narrowed over time, more recently, progress has stalled.

In all major categories of injury (falls, transportation, medical errors and intentional injuries), the disparity between Indigenous females and the total female population is larger than that between Indigenous males and the total male population.

Whatever the factors that put Indigenous people at higher risk, they seem to hurt Indigenous women more than Indigenous men. …

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