Gigii-bapiimin – Exploring Resilience and the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Health and Wellbeing of Indigenous People Living With HIV/AIDS in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The project is led by Dr. Rusty Souleymanov, co-applicant with the waniska Centre, and includes collaborators at the University of Manitoba, Community Alliances and Networks, Ka Ni Kanichihk, All Nations Hope Network, Two-Spirited People of Manitoba and the Manitoba HIV/STBBI Collective Impact Network, among others.

The COVID-19 pandemic is reinforcing health inequities among Indigenous people living with HIV (IPHAs) in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There is an urgent need to understand how this population is uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on IPHAs, and to inform preparedness for future health emergencies and pandemics.

The project will utilize a community-based participatory action research study grounded in ethical space and utilizing etuaptmumk, or Two-eyed Seeing, to interweave Indigenous and Western knowledges, capabilities, and systems approaches to respond to current and pressing knowledge gaps concerning the wider impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and wellbeing of IPHAs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Our objectives are:

·      To understand the extent and impact of COVID-19 on, and the resilience of IPHAs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

·      To identify community, organizational, institutional and systemic practices that offer an important avenue for improved healthcare delivery and health systems strengthening in the COVID-19 response for IPHAs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

·      To build capacity among community members (IPHAs) in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.