The impact of COVID-19

Disproportionate impact of Covid 19 on the African Diaspora communities

April 22, 2021

Long Term Effects Of COVID-19

A Brief Reflection On The Pandemic Period

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant and disproportionate impact on the African Diaspora communities. Here in the UK like elsewhere, the African diaspora community endured mortality rates four times higher than the national average. There are reports that black health professionals faced mortality rates seven times higher than the national average. Such a report has had a mixed reception with a common criticism that it does not adequately explore socio-economic factors and structural racism contributing to such disproportionate impacts.

According to Sala Abdalla who is a Senior Specialist Registrar in Upper GI and General Surgery based at King’s College of London, Uk the reasons why blacks have a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 are complex and multifactorial.

"One must turn to the disparities in health and socioeconomic status and the prejudice and discrimination in our society that are deeply rooted in the causation of the disparity. We know that people from black communities are overrepresented in workforces that put them at higher risk of exposure: the healthcare assistants, the cleaners, the bus drivers, the supermarket workers, to name a few.

There is a higher prevalence of chronic conditions such as cardiac disease, hypertension, sickle cell disease and diabetes mellitus, all known contributors to COVID-19 mortality. Members of BAME communities also face systemic discrimination in many sectors of our society and the National Health Service is no exception to this."

Lessons Learnt

At the pick of the pandemic, hospitals faced an unconscionable situation with situations where nurses having to “split” care provisions between patients and make heart-wrenching decisions about who to treat.

While the COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on the structural failings of many health care system globally, it has also revealed the disproportionate impact of crises on the African diaspora community.

Moving Forward

Globally governments may be preparing for a second surge, so efforts must be made to support community-based programs that serve to reduce racial disparities in the long run.

There must be attention to previously marginalized areas of health care. Especially issues of mental health amongst blacks can only be expected to rise with the convergence of health, economic, and societal crises.

Hence the need for health, social and financial needs of affected individuals, families and African communities should extend into the coming years.

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