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Research Manitoba, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd and First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba Announce Chronic Kidney Disease Screening Program in Manitoba Adult First Nations Population

For Immediate Release

April 6, 2022 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Research Manitoba, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., and the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba are proud to announce an exciting project ‘Optimizing First Nations Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes Care’ which will focus on the early identification and management of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and diabetes via Virtual Kidney Check and Follow-up involving a unique collaboration of stakeholders. The project is being funded through the Boehringer Ingelheim-Research Manitoba (BI-RM) Partnership Fund. This fund supports community-based research and innovation projects focused on improving diabetes-related health outcomes within urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities in Manitoba.   

Manitoba has the highest incidence and prevalence of kidney failure in Canada that is driven by a disproportionate burden of diabetes and CKD in First Nations communities. First Nations peoples are at an increased risk of developing CKD and face many barriers to accessing health care. Diagnoses are often delayed and the opportunities to modify risk and disease progression with lifestyle interventions and medications are often missed. A new approach is urgently needed to improve the lives of First Nations peoples across Manitoba with or at-risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Through the Boehringer Ingelheim-Research Manitoba (BI-RM) Partnership Fund, Drs. David Collister & Paul Komenda (University of Manitoba), along with the First Nations Health Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) will create a public health screening program using an integrated health dataset, telenephrology for screening, and risk stratification and management of CKD in First Nations adults across Manitoba. This project is one of three demonstration trials within MindSet – Manitoba’s Integrated Data Set to demonstrate the use and value of provincially integrated health data to answer critical questions about quality, outcomes, cost, and equity in the health system. MindSet is a partnership between the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Health and Seniors Care and will contribute to the province’s efforts to build a provincial health data platform. A key deliverable of this research is the creation of a public health screening program for CKD in all Indigenous adults in Manitoba. A registry and data platform of Indigenous adults at risk of CKD will be created by FNHSSM to continue monitoring kidney health of Indigenous adults that will be shared with government and key stakeholders to create awareness of the health status and resources needed in the communities.

Based on patient-centricity and Indigenous-led care, the Boehringer Ingelheim-Research Manitoba (BI-RM) Partnership Fund aligns Boehringer Ingelheim Canada’s PATHWAYS Framework to include the perspectives of Indigenous leadership to ensure research strategies are directly informed through Indigenous knowledge and community participation. All aspects of community engagement will be done in collaboration with the FNHSSM and Manitoba Patient Partners with lived experience of chronic kidney disease.

“The high prevalence of chronic kidney disease and diabetes in Manitoba is a critical issue facing our province’s healthcare system. Finding innovative and effective solutions to address this requires a unique partnership such as this. We are proud to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) on the Boehringer Ingelheim-Research Manitoba (BI-RM) Partnership Fund supporting this important research. This strategic partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Canada and FNHSSM provides Manitoba with an opportunity to help improve chronic kidney disease and diabetes health outcomes within Indigenous communities in Manitoba and advance more equitable access to care among Manitoba’s Indigenous communities,” said Karen Dunlop, CEO of Research Manitoba.

“Creating innovative healthcare solutions for all Canadians is part of our purpose as a company in Canada. We believe by partnering with Indigenous communities, companies and organizations we can help to address healthcare gaps for all Canadians. Addressing system gaps by partnering with researchers and stakeholders will drive patient-centric healthcare with respectful and culturally appropriate education, resources, and support to Indigenous Peoples in a community-driven way,” said Andrea Sambati, President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

“This is an opportunity to create a First Nations co-led diabetes surveillance strategy that adheres to the First Nations principles of OCAP (ownership, control, access and possession) and asserts First Nations data sovereignty through the signing of information sharing agreements that outline the terms of collection and use of First Nations data that supports the urgent need to address the high prevalence of diabetes amongst Manitoba First Nations and complications resulting from diabetes through screening and access to primary care specialists before complications negatively impact the wellbeing of First Nations who may be at risk of developing diabetes. First Nations children within Manitoba are “25 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than other Manitobans”, we need to begin screening at earlier stage, this partnership will provide the evidence needed to intervene at an earlier stage based before complications begin,” said Leona Star, Director of Research with the FNHSSM.

“Indigenous peoples living in rural and remote parts of the province often have barriers in accessing diagnostic and treatment options for conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes. Innovative projects like this, that include Indigenous leadership in addressing health issues and in the development of solutions will help to empower and optimize care for Indigenous Manitobans,” said Alan Lagimodiere, Minister for Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations.

“This project will determine the best way to operationalize population-based screening for chronic kidney disease and diabetes in First Nations adults living in Manitoba. The goal is to identify kidney disease early and initiate disease modifying therapy including blood pressure control and medications that significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and kidney failure. We want to create a population-based screening program, similar to cancer screening programs, but expanded to all Indigenous persons in Manitoba to prevent the complications of diabetes and kidney disease that are negatively impacting health and quality of life,” said Dr. David Collister, nephrologist and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

This initiative marks a leading public-private collaboration in Indigenous healthcare in Canada and, if proven successful, will determine the most effective way to complete population-based screening for chronic kidney disease in First Nations adults in Manitoba.

Source: Research Manitoba

Watch the Partnership Video here