Preventing Infectious Diseases

Preventing Infectious Diseases

The Preventing Infectious Diseases Program focuses on interventions, policies, and teachings that promote healthy lifestyles and equip individuals and communities with the abilities and resources to make healthy choices. This program recognizes that the infectious diseases in our communities are a symptom of social conditions among which include inadequate housing. Our approach to infectious disease management recognizes and addresses these conditions and is not just focused on diagnosis and treatment.

Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program

The Tuberculosis Control Program utilizes TB experts and best practice guidelines as outlined in the most current edition of the Canadian Tuberculosis Standards. The program’s mandate is to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in Sioux Lookout Zone First Nations Communities through case and contact management, education, surveillance, awareness and prevention.

  • TB case finding and case treatment, in partnership with community physician and community health care providers
  • Educate and support persons with TB, their significant others and the community as needed.
  • Provide direction and assist with therapy and contact tracing
  • Support and facilitate Directly Observed Therapy (DOT)
  • Provide orientation, support and ongoing TB education to Physicians, Nurses, CHRs, Health Directors, other health care providers and community members.
  • Maintain and update the TB database
  • Tuberculosis surveillance

The Preventing Infectious Diseases Program is currently in the process of expanding services to include other infectious diseases and infection prevention and control (IPAC) issues that are of concern to our communities. Please stay tuned for updates.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of public health principals, practical strategies, and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with substances use. People use needles to inject drugs because they have an addiction. We understand that recovery from addiction is a process and not everyone is able or ready to change. Rather than demanding or expecting abstinence, a harm reduction approach meets people where they are at. The goal is to reduce harms associated with high risk behaviours, provide quality care and to promote small steps forward towards healthy living free of drugs.  Currently SLFNHA supports Needle Distribution and Opioid Overdose Prevention, in addition to education and support.

Benefits of Community-based Needle Distribution Programs:

  • Makes it more likely for equipment to be used for individual use only and not shared
  • Prevents unsafe drug use alternatives
  • Helps to prevent or reduce the spread of blood borne infections(e.g. HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C) and other health related harms
  • Provides a link to health care and social services such as addiction treatment, which may facilitate positive health and behavior change
  • Provides education on safer drug use practices, importance of using new sterile equipment for each injection, safe disposal methods, risks of sharing needles or other drug preparation equipment etc.
  • Provides sharps containers for safe disposal reducing the number of used equipment in a community
  • Allows for the development of a safe system to pick up used equipment discarded improperly in a community
  • Uses a respectful and non-judgemental approach
  •  Provides as many kits as requested, does not limit access and does not operate using a “one for one” exchange
  • Allows for education on transmission of blood-borne infections via any equipment  used for injection and not just needles


    • Offers supportive consultation to those who would like to develop community-based Needle Distribution Programs
    • Provides program guidelines, education resources, and training to communities
    • Packages sterile injection drug use equipment into kits and arranges shipping to communities
    • Provides other safer drug use equipment (i.e. snorting kits) upon request

The objective is to prevent death from an accidental overdose from opioids (Fentanyl, Heroin, Percocet, Codeine, OxyContin, Hydromorphine to name a few). The program works by providing training for drug users and their friends and family members in how to use Naloxone.  Naloxone removes the opioids from the receptors in the brain temporarily to reverse the effects of overdose until medical care can be provided.

The program offers

  • Offers supportive consultation to those communities that would like to develop community-based Opioid Overdose Prevention strategies
  • Provides training, capacity, and educational resources to community based workers
  • Arrange shipping of supplies at no cost to communities

In 2011, a Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infection (STBBI) Working Group was established in the Sioux Lookout zone, in response to the increase of opiate drug abuse and detection of Hepatitis C. In September 2011, the Chief in the area passed a resolution directing Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), a leading participant in the STBBI Working Group, to lead the implementation of an HIV/Hepatitis C prevention strategy for all First Nation communities in the region.

Are You At Rist For Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV?

Hep. B, Hep. C and HIV are a serious concern in today’s world.  Knowing the risks is a big step to preventing them but if any of the following applies to you, get tested right away.

  • Have you ever had sex without a condom?
  • Have you every had oral sex?
  • Have you ever used a needle that was used by someone else? (drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.)
  • Have you every used a drug tool that was used by someone else? (pipes, straws, spoons, filters, water, etc.)
  • Have you ever shared a sex toy?

Protect Yourself, Your Friends & Your Family

You can protect yourself and you loved ones by following some simple precautions.  And remember, you can always go to your local nursing stations for Condums, Clean Needles, Testing and Immunizations.

  • Always use lubricated condoms for sex (vaginal or anal)
  • Use dental dams or condoms for oral sex
  • Never use someone else’s needles, spoons, straws, water, filters or pipes
  • Get tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections
  • For your general health, you should never reuse needles

For More About Harm Reduction

Byron Blandon
Harm Reduction Coordinator

Hepatitis C Support and Treatment Service

The Hepatitis C Support and Treatment Service is a regional resource based in Sioux Lookout that works with people at risk of acquiring, affected by, or living with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The goal is to ensure this population is supported by an interdisciplinary team offering guidance, education, case management coordination, and treatment. The collaborative not only provides HCV support and treatment in Sioux Lookout but is a mobile team, travelling to northern communities to deliver service.  There are two branches of the HCV program:  a Support and Education component, which provides community education, coordination, collaboration, and links to social supports), and a Treatment component, which provides case management and treatment support.

Suport & Education

To access the Support and Education branch of the program clients can contact the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority directly, or referrals can be made by health care or social service providers.


To access the Treatment branch of the program, clients must be referred by physicians and nurse practitioners through the electronic medical record.  The referral can be faxed to our confidential line:

For More Information