"At the root of it is a distribution problem," Smylie said in a telephone interview. "We're an affluent country, but at a systems level we're still not distributing all of our health and social resources equally to all groups." Smylie said the social imbalance that sees aboriginals struggling with higher than average levels of poverty is compounded by the country's geography. Canada's vast size ensures that people living in remote northern communities often have to travel dozens, even hundreds, of kilometres to receive proper maternity care, Smylie said. Such factors drive up infant mortality within the first year and by extension those infants who do not survive their first 24 hours on earth, she said.
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