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Investing in women's health, bonuses for family doctors, breast milk warning, and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • The federal government promised $1.4 billion over 10 years to support women and girls’ health globally. The investment will support sexual and reproductive rights, as well as maternal, newborn and child health.
  • The number of deaths caused by drug overdose in British Columbia would have been twice as high if not for harm-reduction efforts, according to a study in Addiction. Over a two-year period (Apr. 2016–Dec. 2017), there were 2177 overdose deaths in the province but an estimated 3000 deaths were prevented.
  • The government of Quebec set aside $46 million to offer family doctors bonuses for taking on more patients. The goal is to find family doctors for an additional 175,000 residents.
  • Police officers in British Columbia should be better integrated with the province’s mental health and addiction services, recommended a report by BC Coroners Service. An expert panel that contributed to the report examined 127 deaths that occurred within 24 hours of police contact from causes including suicide, drug overdose and police use of force.
  • The government of Alberta has frozen funding for new supervised injection sites. The recently elected United Conservative government had promised during its campaign to halt funding for new sites pending a review of their effectiveness and safety.
  • British Columbia’s ministry of health extended the deadline, from June 1 to the end of June, for fines and other penalties to begin for extra-billing health care practices. The provincial government estimated that it has lost $32 million in federal health care transfer payments because some doctors and clinics continue to charge privately for medically necessary services.
  • The Manitoba government announced it will provide universal access to the abortion pill Mifegymiso. Saskatchewan is now the only province that does not fully cover the cost of the drug.
  • Over 80% of nurse orderlies in Quebec have experienced psychological distress over the past year and more than half want to quit, according to a survey of more than 8000 nurse orderlies conducted by the union representing the workers. About 40% of respondents said they had mandatory overtime and 30% reported threats of discipline for refusing overtime.
  • New Brunswick received an additional 20,000 doses of the measles vaccine. There have been 12 confirmed cases of measles in the Saint John region.
  • Health Canada warned the public about the health risks of purchasing or sharing unprocessed human donor breast milk. Untested breast milk could contain viruses, prescription or nonprescription drugs, or become contaminated if improperly extracted, stored or handled.

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