A First Nation Community’s Perspectives of Tuberculosis

  • Author / Creator
    Moffatt, Jessica
  • Aims: This study aims to 1) provide a platform to discuss and document one First Nations community’s experiences and impacts of tuberculosis (TB); and 2) to understand the social context occurring within the community which may promote continual disease transmission.

    Methods: This Community-Based Participatory Research study was guided by postcolonial theory. Semi-structured interviews (n=15) were conducted in a northern Alberta First Nations reserve community with a high incidence of tuberculosis. Purposive and snowball sampling was used to obtain our sample. Study inclusion was open to any community member over 14 years of age, who had personally or through an immediate family member, experienced the effects of the disease. Data collection and analysis was iterative, using qualitative content analysis. A Community Advisory Board, which was comprised of community members, Elders, and two community co-investigators, guided the project.

    Findings: Participants describe the exclusion resulting within, and because of sanitoriums. Exclusion was categorized into 1) the racial segregation of Canadian sanitoriums, where Aboriginal TB patients were excluded from mainstream institutions; 2) the exclusion of Aboriginal culture and practices of healing within the treatment of TB; and 3) the exclusion internal to community members, where members of the community internally labeled the healed individual post-sanitorium as an ‘other’.

    Participants describe the effect of inadequate housing and overcrowding on the high incidence rates noted in their community. Reasons for inadequate housing are defined broadly to include the impact of cultural norms, endemic crowding, addictive behaviors, and the effects of transitioning to the city.

    Dissemination: The findings of this study were used to create a community-owned educational video. This video documents 1) the personal and unique stories of community members dealing with TB, and 2) the educational/biomedical aspects of TB.

    Conclusion: By asking to hear participant’s experiences and understanding about TB, this study sheds light on the conditions (both historical and current) which influence TB transmission today. The findings of this study demonstrate the complexity of health on-reserve, as well as the many ways colonial experiences influence disease progression today.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Experimental Medicine
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lang, Lori (Public Health Sciences)
    • Mampton, Mary (Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit)
    • King, Malcolm (Medicine)
    • Baydala, Lola (Medicine)
    • Madsen, Karen (Medicine)