The Climate and Health Interdisciplinary Research Programme (CHIRP) at Leeds is based in the Priestly International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. CHIRP@LEEDS is a joint collaboration across the climate and global health themes, and partners the Leeds School of Earth and Environment, and the Leeds Institute for Health Sciences, including the Nuffield Centre for Global Health and Development. Led by Professor Lea Berrang-Ford, the programme integrates interdisciplinary expertise across Leeds faculties, including strengths in public health, epidemiology, medicine, engineering, climate science, nutrition, and geography.
Dr. Shuaib Lwasa to present at McGill University Dept. of Geography GeoSpectives lecture series in September
Background. Food insecurity is an ongoing problem in the Canadian Arctic. Although most studies have focused on smaller communities, little is known about food insecurity in larger centres.
Objectives. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity during 2 different seasons in Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, as well as identify associated risk factors.
Design. A modified United States Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey was applied to 532 randomly selected households in September 2012 and 523 in May 2013. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine potential associations between food security and 9 risk factors identified in the literature.
Results. In September 2012, 28.7% of surveyed households in Iqaluit were food insecure, a rate 3 times higher than the national average, but lower than smaller Inuit communities in Nunavut. Prevalence of food insecurity in September 2012 was not significantly different in May 2013 (27.2%). When aggregating results from Inuit households from both seasons (May and September), food insecurity was associated with poor quality housing and reliance on income support (p<0.01). Unemployment and younger age of the person in charge of food preparation were also significantly associated with food insecurity. In contrast to previous research among Arctic communities, gender and consumption of country food were not positively associated with food security. These results are consistent with research describing high food insecurity across the Canadian Arctic.
Conclusion. The factors associated with food insecurity in Iqaluit differed from those identified in smaller communities, suggesting that experiences with, and processes of, food insecurity may differ between small communities and larger commercial centres. These results suggest that country food consumption, traditional knowledge and sharing networks may play a less important role in larger Inuit communities.
Guo, Y., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J., Lardeau, MP., Edge, V., Patterson K., the IHACC Research Team, and Harper, S. (2015). Seasonal prevalence and determinants of food insecurity in Iqaluit, Nunavut. International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
We have wrapped up our seven weeks in the field and are now settling back into life in Canada. The final weeks were a flurry of data entry and sharing results with local partners but we managed to finish everything we needed to do.
Our biggest challenge was completing the data entry from the maternity records, but with some help from the wonderful records department staff, we were able to finish entering the complete set of records. The hospital IT staff were pleased with this contribution and we hope it will be helpful to a number of hospital staff in their research. One evening as we were working late entering records, we got the call we had been awaiting—there was a birth happening on the ward and we were invited to come and assist with the procedure! Cradling this brand new creature moments after it entered the world and tying off the umbilical cord put into perspective everything we have been working on. The experience made it starkly apparent why facility-based deliveries can be so important-- the mother bled profusely and the nurse was concerned about postpartum hemorrhaging. Fortunately the sutures held and the mother was able to sit up and meet her baby girl. As the nurse entered the birth information in the record, she asked for our names—we are now listed as having assisted during the birth on the very records we have spent weeks entering.
In our second last week in Buhoma our friend Levi from BDP guided us on the Batwa Experience tour. We headed up a steep mountain path and were welcomed by a traditional dance by several Batwa men and women, who then demonstrated honey-harvesting, hunting practices, and medicinal plant identification. Learning about the traditional way of life for the Batwa in the forest contrasted greatly with what we saw on our community visits to their new settlements. The preservation of traditional knowledge through the Batwa Experience is an important initiative, but it also reminded us how many traditional food sources were lost when the Batwa were evicted from the forest.
Another big highlight of our last two weeks in Buhoma was the chance to see some mountain gorillas! We got to watch a family of gorillas who were taking a break for a lunch snack on their way back into the park.
On our final day, we held a preliminary results sharing meeting at the hospital, where 40 BCH staff were in attendance. It was a great chance for us to give a summary of IHACC, our projects, the work we had been able to accomplish while at BCH, as well as next steps. We also gave an overview of the health records evaluation draft. Our presentation was well received, and the staff were eager to review the soft copies of the evaluation that we distributed. Many people offered some great feedback and questions about the direction of our research.
We will miss BCH, Bwindi and the many connections and friends we have made in Uganda. However, we are looking forward to continued collaboration with our Ugandan partners as we develop our projects over the coming months. We are very grateful to all who have helped us and feel fortunate to have had this experience. This time has reminded us both of the value of fieldwork; it has grounded our research in real-life experience and motivated us to make our research useful and relevant for BCH and the communities we have been working with.