Published on December 9, 2022.
By: Lavanya Kathirgamanathan
In 2020, there was a declaration of a worldwide pandemic due to the new strain of the SARS virus, coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. The world was halted, and fear of leaving home was instilled within everyone. Many businesses were closed, and in many cities, curfews were in effect in different provinces of Canada. Living life freely was limited for two years. The most important task of 2020 involved keeping the public safe from Covid-19 so that hospitals were not overwhelmed.
Doctors immediately worked on a vaccination to help reduce symptoms and prevent the spread of Covid-19 from affecting the immune system and body. In August of 2021, the vaccine was formulated and ready to be distributed to the public. The Canadian government recommended that individuals receive two doses of the vaccines to enter restaurants or to travel. Once a person receives their vaccines, they must show proof of vaccination documents.
On April 29, 2020, The Black Health Alliance, Health Commons Solutions lab, and Sinai Health collaborated on a project that discussed Black Experiences in Health Care in Ontario. This project highlighted issues the Black community faced in the province and how it plans to combat them. This encouraged them to broaden their research worldwide and investigate racialized data in other countries involving discrimination during the Covid-19 pandemic within the Black community.
Statistics show that in Illinois, 43 per cent of people who died from Covid-19 were African Americans. It also revealed that 28 per cent of the population that tested positive were African American. Statistics from the UK revealed that 53 staff members working for the National Health Service who passed away made up 68 per cent of the racialized community.
How can we help combat the discrimination against the Black community when the healthcare system does not treat everyone equally?
Let’s talk about a health organization called Black Health Matters. Although not given worldwide recognition, it is beginning to deliver more research regarding the health of the Black community.
In Canada, the Black Health Matters organization helped research institutions engage in the Black community in response to the impact of Covid-19. They focused on evolving anti-Black racism and intersectional violence. With the help of health resources and facilities, this organization brainstorms necessary research r to combat the negative impacts of systemic barriers such as lack of resources within the Black community.
This organization involves researchers that specialize in healthcare, disability studies, sociology, psychology, social work, business administration, women and gender studies, medicine, and community health; these resources can provide information on how to help out Black communities in Canada.
A researcher from the University of Toronto named Roberta Timothy conducted a survey in March of 2021 to provide guidance to support the Black community. This survey involves obtaining information on the experiences of Black people and their careers. These careers include frontline and essential workers, migrant workers, parenting, and mental health roles. This survey will collect data from different countries such as Brazil, Kenya, and other places.
Black Health Matters’ focus is to represent the voices of the Black community and for them to acknowledge any issues relating to healthcare and their community. To gain sensibility, they have created a survey for people that involves questions regarding their race, experiences, and voice to effectively treat and manage Covid-19 within the Black community.
For the survey to be done, you have to identify as an African or Black person. If you do not identify as either, the survey will end immediately. If you want to engage in this survey and are a part of the Black community, you can take this survey here.
This is a great way to help provide your input and knowledge into health research for the Black community! By providing your input, you can help this health organization gain more insight on COVID19 within the Black community.
Lavanya Kathirgamanathan is one of the Writers for this year’s publication at Black Voice. She’s a recent graduate from Toronto Metropolitan University, where she studied Journalism and will further her education in Human Resources at George Brown College. Lavanya has experience writing for multiple publications and has her own food blog on social media. Lavanya’s main goal as a writer for the Black Voice publication is to showcase Black excellence within the community, and in the city of Toronto.