First Nations initially felt under-supplied and unloved by Health Canada and made a big wahoo out of supplying their own hand sanitizers, masks and other supplies and rejecting Health Canada's assistance (which, presumably, they must have decided to accept again).
Now that flu season is getting closer additional supplies are being sent and Chiefs are aghast that they are being supplied too well through the inclusion of body bags with their latest shipment.
It's called preparation. There is a possibility, especially for those with underlying medical conditions, of death from seasonal and /or H1N1 influenza. In a remote location an unexpected or unplanned for death is an additional challenge. It's like having an ambulance at a football game - there's no implication that someone is out to injure someone else. It's a precaution because there isn't a hospital on-site.
Now that some of the bags have been returned to Health Canada offices I can envision the next self-serving media exercize ... certain First Nations leaders turning back to the "under-supplied, unloved" position as they go on a media campaign about the indignity of having bodies laid out in a nurses station covered with a newspaper waiting for proper, sterile, leak-proof body bags to arrive.
A good post by Policy Frog about the issue.
Statement From Health Minister Aglukkaq on 'Body Bag' Issue
Swine flu breaks out on Vancouver Island
CMAJ September 17, 2009
The first pandemic (H1N1) 2009 outbreak of Canada’s fall flu season has occurred within remote Aboriginal communities on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, CMAJ has learned.
Body bag shipments 'routine restocking': Health Canada
Globe and Mail 17 September
Jim Wolfe, Manitoba director of Health Canada's Inuit and Aboriginal Health Branch, told reporters in Winnipeg that the body-bag shipment was a “routine restocking” of remote nursing stations to help them prepare for “unknown and unforeseen events, whether it be a plane crash, environmental disaster or pandemic.”
“It is unfortunate that this has been linked exclusively with H1N1,” he said. “Health Canada apologizes. We all regret the alarm caused by the stocking of this particular item.”