MHS Centennial Organization: Sanatorium Board of Manitoba / Lung Association of Manitoba

Tuberculosis was – and remains – a health concern in Manitoba and around the world. At one time, being diagnosed with TB or, as “consumption” it was formerly known, was essentially a death sentence. Manitoba history contains numerous stories of families destroyed through the effects of this highly contagious, air-borne disease affecting the lungs. So the story of how TB was attacked by the global medical community is a remarkable one. In February 1904, the Manitoba Legislative passed an Act to establish a Sanatorium for people suffering with TB. A Board of Trustees established to operate the Sanatorium at Ninette was unique, consisting of a partnership of government official and voluntary citizens, who were given full authority to conduct the campaign against TB throughout the province. In the early years, medications were not available so rest and good nutrition at “The San” was the only treatment possible.

The original facility was supplemented by six others, although the Ninette Sanatorium remained the centre of TB treatment and, in 1926, became for the base for a mobile x-ray clinic, the first preventative health program in Canada. Drug treatments developed in the 1940s reduced the need for long convalescence at the San and, gradually, treatments were centralized at the Manitoba Rehabilitation Hospital in Winnipeg which, in 1972, was transferred to the Health Sciences Centre. In 1975, the Lung Association was founded as a division of the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba to operate its community health programs and education services. Today, operating as the Lung Association of Manitoba, its efforts are focused on occupational health, tobacco reduction, and the control of asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and, of course, tuberculosis. Its mission is to improve lung health through research funding, community programs, educational services, and resource distribution.

An MHS Centennial Organization Award was presented by President Gordon Goldsborough to the Dr. Frank Hechter, Chair of the Lung Association of Manitoba on 23 April 2006.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Ninette Sanatorium (Ninette, RM of Prairie Lakes)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Rehabilitation Hospital (800 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg)

Page revised: 11 March 2023