NDP

NDP questions Minister of Health on future of the Ally Centre

October 20, 2016


For Immediate Release

HALIFAX – In Question Period today, NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson asked the Minister of Health what the Liberal government plans to do to address federal funding cuts to the Ally Centre in Cape Breton.

For 24 years, the Ally Centre in Cape Breton has received funding from the federal AIDS Community Action, but a few weeks ago, the Centre was informed that the federal government is withdrawing this core funding.

“When funding is taken from Cape Breton Island, we are left with huge gaps,” said Christine Porter, Executive Director of the Ally Centre. “We have the highest rate of Hepatitis C virus in the province. You need front-line workers to address this and the underlying social determinants of health, including poverty, housing, and access to health care.”

Among a number of key services, the Ally Centre runs a needle exchange program across the island. One quarter of all Hepatitis C cases in Nova Scotia are in Cape Breton and 70 per cent of cases are related to sharing drug paraphernalia.

The Ally Centre is also one of two sites in the province piloting a program to distribute naloxone anti-overdose kits. Cape Breton Island has the highest rate of opiate overdoses per capita in Nova Scotia.  These kits are key to preparing for a possible public health emergency caused by the increase in fentanyl use.

“It is the responsibility of the provincial government to ensure the health and well-being of the people of this province,” said Dave Wilson, NDP Critic for Health and Wellness. “We have heard nothing from the Minister of Health and Wellness about whether or not his government will prevent the Ally Centre from shutting its doors.”

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For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.