Access to healthcare is a fundamental right but Black people in the US are still not able to get this ‘luxury’ even during an on-going pandemic. The medical community has to acknowledge that racism is no less than a pandemic in itself that needs their attention without discrimination. Not only it affects the mental but also the physical health of the Black community in many ways. It puts them at a higher risk of diseases including the coronavirus.
The public protests against police cruelty lasted for five days in Columbus, Ohio. After that, the city council decided to conduct a virtual meeting discussing solutions to add ‘racism’ into matters of a public health crisis.
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Michael V. Drake from Ohio State University (OSU) supported a resolution to accept racism as a challenge to healthcare facilities for Black people. Being Black in the US is no less than a life-long struggle as one has to fight for even the basic rights despite the country claiming to have ethnic acceptance.
Dr. Nwando Olayiwola, from the family medicine department at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center endorses this step and recognizing racism as a public health threat. He says that we don’t really see officials saying it but accepting the traumatic effects of racial discrimination on the physical and mental health of a Black person is undeniable.
The medical community is thriving with researches to understand the effects of racism on society. Being a threat to public health, it could add more risk of coronavirus on the Black community.
The coronavirus pandemic has not only helped to highlight flaws in the health system but also pointed towards the most vulnerable groups, including the ethnic groups. The study on coronavirus spread finds that Black and Latino’s communities are at an increased risk of the virus, confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A recent study by the research team from Auburn University showed that racist incidents add stress to targeted groups and promotes cellular aging in them. The principal researcher and lead author of this study David Chae declared racism as a ‘social toxin’ which damages the bodies at a basic level.
It suggests why most Black people have a shorter life span as compared to white men, confirmed by the CDC. It is the stress that damages the body and puts these communities at a higher risk of diseases which may be fatal in some cases.
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The medical malice in the USA is not uncommon, especially for the Black community. Historically they make the most cases of STD’s including syphilis which is mainly because they are denied proper treatment. Some researchers have also shared their concern over the poor intention of the healthcare providers during the pandemic which could make things worse for the Black people in the US.
Although not all healthcare providers do that but it is necessary to deliver this concern to the physicians, making them believe the real dangers of racism. The family medicine department of OSU’s conducted an open dialogue on racism and medical malice where doctors discussed their ideas of this racism and healthcare.