About Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics

Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics provides comprehensive statistics and knowledge regarding the health of Inuit. The Naasautit partners collect and synthesize information from existing sources, including national, regional and where possible, community information on the determinants of Inuit health and health status indicators, which can be used to better address Inuit health issues and needs.

Objectives

  • Contribute to the current state of knowledge of Inuit population health indicators;
  • Facilitate future Inuit population health research by improving access to the relevant research and statistics information;
  • Enable Inuit communities and organizations to make evidence-based decisions.

Qaujimajangit Principles of Operation

The principles that guide the operation of Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics are based on the concepts of Qaujimajangit, or Inuit Knowledge.

  1. Pijitsirniq ~ the concept of serving. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics serves the needs of Inuit.
  2. Aajiiqatigiingniq ~ the concept of consensus decision-making. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics has processes that are equitable among partner organizations to make information available to stakeholders.
  3. Pilimmaksarniq ~ the concept of skills and knowledge acquisition. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics uses the best information available to develop our knowledge and decision-making skills, and encourage innovation and best practice.
  4. Piliriqatigiingniq ~ the concept of collaborative relationships or working together for a common purpose. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics enables Inuit communities to be full and meaningful partners in the dissemination and use of Inuit health information/statistics for a common purpose. As information stewards, we cooperate with our partners who use health information, to contribute to Inuit health and well-being.
  5. Avatimik Kamattiarniq~ the concept of environmental stewardship. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics respects and recognizes that taking care of the environment is a part of managing Inuit health and well-being.
  6. Qanuqtuurunnarniq~ the concept of being resourceful to solve problems. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics enables Inuit to use knowledge in innovative ways to solve problems.

Questions and Answers

What does the name ‘Naasautit’ mean?

Naasautit is the Inuktitut word for numbers in the Baffin dialect, which is understood by a majority of Inuit language speakers. When the regions got together to start Naasautit in the summer of 2008, they decided to include the Inuit language terms Kihitchisit (Inuvialuit), Kititjutit (Nunavik) and Numarait (Nunatsiavut) to express the linguistic and cultural diversity of Inuit Nunangat. For example, the Nunavik term Kititjutit means in this context “gathering numbers”.
The image of the traditional Inuk hunter with his dog team that appears on the website and promotional materials represents the potential to use numbers to move forward and take action.

How did Naasautit get started?

With direction from the regional partners and the National Inuit Committee on Health (NICoH), Inuit Tuttarvingat of the National Aboriginal Health Organization was asked to coordinate the development of a health information project in 2007. This was after many years of discussion by Inuit leaders about the difficulty in finding and understanding health information, particularly health statistics, in a useful format. Inuit Tuttarvingat worked with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and the Nunatsiavut Government to design Naasautit and build capacity within Inuit Nunangat to develop and manage it. Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics was one of the largest Aboriginal data translation initiatives at the time.

What methods does Naasautit use?

Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics gathers and selects Inuit-specific statistics and organizes them in ways that people can understand and learn. We started with the most relevant and important statistics available from the national Aboriginal Peoples Survey and the Aboriginal Children’s Survey because these numbers provide the most comprehensive picture available of Inuit health and living conditions across Canada today.
Visitors can explore, at a single glance, a larger number of statistics than ever before. Using Naasautit’s Inuit Health and Well-being Data Organization circle, visitors can find the statistics they need in a natural and meaningful way. This tool, basically a menu of subjects, is a work in progress that will be refined through audience feedback.

What user testing was required?

During a 12-month period, future users of a "data directory" of the website were invited to tell us what they liked and didn’t like about existing statistics websites and to “test drive” a demonstration site. This began in Nain, in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the Nunatsiavut Government hosted a workshop with Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics and Statistics Canada. You can see Jim Lyall, President of the Nunatsiavut Government, addressing the class here. After participants were trained in basic statistical techniques they were better able to tell us how they would use an Inuit version of Community Accounts, a popular statistics service of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The full user testing report from the event is available. The input from participants led to the creation of a demo version of Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics. Built by the project team, the site was fully tested in Inuvik and revised several times by the Naasautit partners.

What feedback did you get from the user testing?

The participants in Nain and Inuvik were enthusiastic about using statistics to help them understand issues and what needed to be done. They indicated that there were pros and cons to using statistics for comparing populations. The user testing suggests that it will probably take some time for Naasautit statistics to become part of Inuit society, used by organizations and communities. Participants in Inuvik, at a second Statistics Canada workshop hosted by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, liked the demo site’s easy navigation, the chance to build their own bar charts, and the unique ability to “stack” and scan a number of charts at one time. Users can compare populations, without any ranking or order of importance to any indicators.

How does Naasautit operate?

Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics is a national web-based service, dedicated to building the capacity of communities to use statistics to participate in health planning and governance. This partnership is guided by principles based on the concepts of Qaujimajangit or Inuit Knowledge. A small office in Ottawa within ITK’s Inuit Knowledge Centre is responsible for administration, project development, contracts, and developing skills for tasks in publishing the statistics by the regions. Overhead costs are kept to a minimum by operating in conjunction with ITK’s other information services.

What capacity development is taking place?

Health Data Analysts in each of the four land claim organizations worked on Naasautit until June 2010. The Analysts gained skills to assess data quality and present them in an appropriate form. Analysts attended workshops with Statistics Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada Skills Online to gain basic concepts and language to work with population health statistics. They also had access to consultants and mentors who are statistics experts and epidemiologists with federal, provincial and territorial departments.

What can we expect from Naasautit in the future?

Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics is designed to grow with its audience. Audience feedback and interaction will provide a lot of information about what people like and what they want more of. Over time, depending on resources, Naasautit partners can add data of interest from their regions and from other sources. Comparable numbers from the rest of Canada, the Inuit Health Surveys, and the 1996 and 2001 Censuses and Aboriginal Peoples Surveys are sources that we hope to add in the future. The network structure enables each region to work at its own pace to build a regional/national perspective.

How can Inuit use statistics to make changes?

Naasautit: Inuit Health Statistics can help local communities mobilize to work for improvements. For instance while everyone knows that overcrowded housing and unemployment is at the root of many health and wellness issues, people want to have the numbers to describe just how serious the issues are national and regional organizations can discuss the numbers in group meetings so people can work together to understand the issues and propose solutions. This results in a more informed population that can use the evidence to argue for change with their regional, provincial/territorial and national governments.

How is Naasautit funded?

The development of the Naasautit data directory was funded by the federal government through Health Canada’s Aboriginal Health Transition Fund (2007-10). It was originally conceived as an information and knowledge translation project. Inuit Tuttarvingat of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) acted as a national coordinator to help regional partners and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami shape Naasautit into a data dissemination and capacity building project that would serve the long-term needs of Inuit. Through collaborative work with NAHO, Statistics Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, Naasautit is a service to support the skill and knowledge transfer required to achieve our long-term objectives.

Are there plans to sustain Naasautit?

The website provides each region with a basic data centre, or repository, which is shared with all regions through the national Inuit Knowledge Centre website. The service will be further developed as resources permit.