Youll never walk alone.......... Due to the ongoing coronavirus we have moved our operations to remote telephone working. We have been meeting monthly online via Zoom. We also hold one to one consultations via telephone and in some limited cases socially distanced face to face. Contact us for more information on our current services. TEL: 07906343050
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are hosting a Women’s talk on Saturday the 19th of March 2022 from 10:30 AM- 12:30 PM Via Zoom The theme for IWD 2022 is #BreaktheBias. To stick to the theme, we are hoping to discuss the importance of smashing stereotypes.
Stereotypes are pre-determined negative ideologies of a certain group of people. These ideologies tend to have a negative impact on not only the entire community but also on the mental health and self-perception of the individual.
Stereotypes have a negative impact on the role ethnic minority women play within communities, we tend to be seen in a negative light which impacts our opportunities in the working world. Statistically proven women from ethnic minority communities are more likely to be passed on jobs with higher positions almost always because of the negative stereotypes about ethnic minority women.
We are hoping that having this discussion can allow us to be a part of the change and smash the stereotypes. We have special guests from a women entrepreneur as well as local Barking and Dagenham MP. They will talk about the struggles they have faced as ethnic minority women in leadership positions.
13 March 2021. For International Women’s Day a discussion was held about the inequalities in health for BAME women. The COVID pandemic it has shone a light on inequalities of health felt by ethnic minority communities, with not only a higher number of COVID cases but with high numbers of mortality rate amongst ethnic minority groups, and our question is why? Why are these health inequities present? And what is being done to remove the inequalities? During the discussion three women from Redbridge Public Health and the council joined us. and made presentations. From this we were able to see what exactly Redbridge council aims to do about reducing these inequalities. During our research we found different factors that influenced quality of health for the BAME group people these factors were:
Being a refugee or asylum seeker
Lack of social support
Blaming cultural beliefs
During the discussion there were a few points that were made about the inequalities felt by ethnic minority women specifically.
Adultification of black and Asian women- here BAME women are more often told ‘to get on with it’ or expected to bear excessive pain compared to their white counterparts. In particular young BAME women are treated as if they are much older than their actual age whereas their white female counterparts are treated much more sympathetically and child like being offered a range of different treatments and care options. Health Concerns are not taken seriously – here BAME women’s health concerns are more likely to be dismissed by the GP or health professional than their white counterparts. We heard of a woman who told a hospital about her allergies and they ignored it and administered the medication anyway and this left her with life threatening illness and permanent disability. Being treated as unintelligent – here the BAME women felt the health professionals sometimes looked down on them or spoke to them as though they were stupid. We heard from a female engineer from India who said due to her accent and limited English her GP belittled her by shouting at her during a consultation. She did not respond due to her cultural upbringing to be respectful but felt very uncomfortable about opening up to that person again.
The public health officers from Redbridge council mentioned a few different projects they are working on to close the health gap for BAME community group.
Every day in policy- every life matters and every opinion matters.
Redbridge council is working with rough sleepers, to ensure they access health services
UNICEF Charter-Doing child friendly services.
Reaching out to young mothers-How schools can support young mothers.
Good schools mean social inclusion for young mothers.
Decommissioning certain programmes that are not effectively helping close the health inequality gap and then commissioning other programmes that are much more likely to be effective in closing the gap.
Maternity programme- The aim of this maternity programme is to allow better birth, better pre-natal care, better maternity, and better post-natal care.
Obesity programme- this programme aims to look at different ways to promote healthy living/eating for BAME communities.
Although all these different programmes are designed to help close the gap for ethnic minority groups. It is difficult to do so when the BAME community is so varied, it does not involve just one community group it is a large, varied community, where each individual within the BAME community has different health concerns, therefore having the term ‘BAME community’ to describe such a large number of people it makes it impossible to be able to close the health inequalities gap. At the end of the discussion, we conducted a survey to further understand the BAME communities experience of health services and the experiences they are facing.
Table 1 represents the opinions on mental health and which ethnic group is more likely to suffer from mental health problems we can see the Black ethnic group has the highest chosen ethnic group followed by the Asian ethnic group. Looking at the results form table 1 above it correlates with the actual results. According to the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey found that black men were more likely than their white counterparts to experience a psychotic disorder in the last year. This tells us that ethnic minority communities are aware of the health determinants within their own community, and are aware of the fact that it could have detrimental effect on their community, yet very little is being done about it.
Table 2 represents the opinions on which BAME communities is likely to suffer form physical health. We can see that the Black and Asian ethnic groups were the most commonly chosen groups of individuals who were seen as more likely to suffer from ill physical health. Similarly, national statistics correlate with this finding that BAME groups are likely to suffer from physical ill health more than their white counterparts. During pregnancy black women are 5 times more likely to die during childbirth compared to their white counterparts. This is a statistic that is shocking and upsetting to have to hear being able to discuss these issues feels empowering to share with other women, it allows voices to be heard and awareness to be raised. We also asked the respondents of their experience of using health services the statistical representation bellow shows the answers.
We also asked the respondents of their experience of using health services the statistical representation bellow shows the answers.
Table 3 shows that 54.5% (over half) felt they had been treated differently based on their gender or race.
We went further to ask our respondents to share their experiences if they had any bellow are some of the responses.
“Yes, a particular GP refused to see us because he didn’t want to support us in our housing matter which was having an effect on our health”.
“My fears not ;listened to.. “I was pressured into taking High dosage medication”.
“My GP had refused to give me blood test despite repeated requests. Until I really had to finally assert myself and they could see I was not going to leave without a positive answer!”
“I had breathing issues and snored heavily so I visited my GP on a number of occasions but no diagnosis and medication given for treatment. I was told this is this is normal by the GP.”
‘I don’t feel my GP cares about my issues but just dismisses my concerns’
Above are some of the opinions we can see that from the 11 respondents 6 have said that they felt they had a bad experience with health professionals like their GPs.
Table 4 below shows the opinions of how the respondents feel about the healthcare professionals and if they believe there is enough understanding of the conditions/situations of Black or Asian health concerns and conditions.
To better allow ethnic minorities to benefit from health services it is important to have open communication on how to be inclusive and allow ethnic minorities to be able to come forward with their experience to allow a better health care service for future generations.
CONCLUSION Having this conversation is important as it allows inclusivity, a feeling of believing and allowing everyone to be heard, encouraging each other, we were able to express our thoughts and feelings about the health inequalities and the lack of communication around this topic. We were able to let our voice be heard by the members of Redbridge Public health and the council and we hope it makes a difference.
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS We concluded and recommended to the Public health professionals present that Redbridge consider training health professionals regularly on people skills particularly around how to work with people from diverse cultures. Also more input from such ethnic group in shaping the health services is essential if they are to become more equal
“My vaccine protects you; your vaccine protects me.”
Meeting of 27th Feb 2021
On the 27th of February we discussed the health inequalities faced by ethnic minorities within the UK with more death rates and contraction rates amongst the ethnic minority group yet the take up for the vaccine was less for minority ethnic groups. During this discussion we had a guest speaker who is a public health community engagement officer for Redbridge council. She joined us to discuss the importance of vaccinating and to help bust the myths and fears surrounding the vaccine.
We learnt from the discussions the importance of vaccinating and the benefits it has on the community as a whole. We learnt that the vaccine has had multiple trials in different continents and tested on different groups of people, this allowed us to rest easy knowing the vaccine has had trials on ethnic minorities like us.
We were able to share our own stories and experiences of the fear mongering that goes on within our own social groups and communities. Having this discussion let us know the true facts around the vaccine.
Here are some of the questions we were able to ask our guest speaker, that we found informative and helpful.
Why are ethnic minorities hesitant to get the vaccine?
There are a number of reasons this happens. The history of vaccination and the use of ethnic minorities to test vaccine on them to then give the vaccine to the white ethnic race has caused a lot of the ethnic minorities more particularly the older generations to not want to get vaccinated because of this impact. Having certain politicians make claims of trialling vaccines on ethnic minorities does not help in spreading awareness on the importance of vaccinating.
What vaccine is better?
Currently the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are being given. Both vaccines have an equal success rate, and both are effective. However, it is much easier to store the AstraZeneca vaccine compared to the Pfizer which makes such a difference in the availability of each vaccine.
Are vaccine ingredients list given?
Before going into going into the centre you can ask for a list of ingredients, it will be given to you. However, the ingredients are written in scientific term so unless you are a health care professional yourself it may be difficult to understand it.
Does this vaccine protect us from all strains as well as future strains as well?
Yes, this vaccine does protect us from current strains as well the new strains that were found in South Africa, Kent etc. However, it is unsure if this vaccine will protect us from future strains as the virus changes and mutates constantly. What could happen is a booster vaccine may be needed.
Are you told which vaccine you will be given?
When getting the vaccine, you will be told right before what vaccine you will be given. You cannot choose what vaccine you get.
What is the process of getting the vaccine?
You re first contacted by your GP via text, phone call or mail. You will be given a date, time slot and location to get the vaccine. You then go in on the day 10 minutes early. You will be given information about the vaccine and then assigned a medical professional to give you the injections. You will be given a card with the name of the vaccine given as well as an app card for your next vaccine. You then wait for 15 minutes and if all is well you can then go home.
Can you turn up and be vaccinated?
No, you cannot turn up to be vaccinated. Wait to be contacted first by your GP. They may call you first or send you a letter.
Are children being vaccinated?
Currently the vaccine has not been deemed safe to be given to children. There is currently a trial going on testing on children.
Can I refuse getting my child getting tested at school?
Yes, you can. However, for the greater good and peace of mind get your children tested because they are going back to school and will be surrounded by other children it allows you to be safe and keep everyone around your child as well as your child safe.
If I want to test my children at home how can I do this?
The schools should contact you on how to do this if you would like to test your children at home.
Has the vaccine caused any deaths so far?
So far there has been no deaths caused by the vaccines which is an amazing outcome for this vaccine. As at April 2021 there have been reports of blood clots after taking the astrazeneca vaccine but there has been no direct link to the vaccine.
If I refuse the vaccine would it be made compulsory in the future?
No, it will not be made compulsory as it is against human rights. But there could be certain jobs that require you to be vaccinated in order to work e.g., care home workers. As a blanket policy public health England will not force you take the vaccine.
Normally vaccines are tested and tried for about 10-15 years, why has this vaccine been deemed safe a lot earlier?
COVID 19 is a very serious pandemic and has affected almost everyone around the world. As such this vaccine has had more funds, more experts help and more research and more international cooperation than any other vaccination has ever had. With modern medications and all the worlds resources being used to create a vaccine to stop the spread and allow the world to go back to normal it resulted in the vaccine to be made much quicker than normal.
Is the vaccine safe to take for people living with medical conditions such as HIV, cancer, immune compromised?
The vaccine is safe for people who have medical conditions such as HIV as well as people who are immune compromised for example having cancer and having other medical conditions such as diabetes. The only people who are unable to get the vaccine were those who are pregnant and those who have severe allergic reactions to the ingredients in the medication.
What is the time frame for a healthy person to get the vaccine?
For a healthy person, the time frame for the first dosage is expected to be between early to mid-July. Everyone who is healthy should latest have had their first dose by August. This could vary as it depends on vaccine supplies.
What about future side effects? What will happen if there are side effects in the future?
There has been no evidence showing future side effects as we are still in the early stages and can’t tell the future. However booster dosages or yearly vaccination like the flu vaccine may be needed to keep up protection from the viruses mutation as well as keeping people safe. There is more research being done on this as of now this is not a major concern for now.
Does the vaccine conflict with certain medication?
There is currently no evidence showing if this vaccine causes reaction with other medications, therefore it could be said it is safe to get the vaccine whilst being on other medication.
What should you do if you do get serious side effect?
If you feel nauseas, vomiting and severe dehydration immediately call 999. Side effects may be felt although there have not been any cases of major side effect as of yet. A lot of individuals who have gotten the vaccine did feel minor side effects like pain on the injected sight, slight headache, and minor fever for a day or 2. These were all minor side effects that went away quite quickly or by taking pain killers e.g. paracetamol.
What about if I have no recourse to public funds? Can I get the vaccine? Will I be reported to the Home Office?
Everyone can get the vaccine for free in the UK and you do not have to be registered with a GP. Redbridge council has pop up vaccine centres in different locations within the Redbridge area. The aim of these pop up centres is to allow those with no recourse to public funds, marginalised or out of contact with society e.g., drug addicts homeless people etc to go and be given more information or to be even given the vaccine safely and confidentially.. The aim of this is to allow them to get vaccinated without being judged or having to have their information gathered.
What caused this chaos around the vaccine to happen?
The chaos was caused by the lack of communication and breakdown of information available. This led to wrong information to be spread. Having groups such as anti-vaxxers and people who do not believe in covid have spread their opinions causing a lack of correct information to be spread.
Can I take herbal remedies to protect myself from COVID rather than getting the vaccine?
There is no evidence to say that herbal remedies work in protecting individuals from viruses. There is also little to no research or extensive testing/trials available to prove herbal remedies working. Using this approach does not prove if it will protect you from COVID 19.
What can we do as individuals to spread awareness about the importance of vaccinating and prevent fearmongering amongst our communities?
As individuals you could communicate with family members and friends and spread awareness of the importance of getting the vaccine as well as busting any myths or lies about the vaccine.
And finally, what is Redbridge Councils aim to prevent ethnic minorities from being affected as seriously as they were, with higher death rates and infected rates?
Redbridge council aims to have a focus on reducing the health inequalities. Currently a lotof the focus is in covid manage. We hope to increase the uptake of the vaccination as we would like people to come out of this situation, we are in at present. In the future we hope to look at better public health and community engagement. We currently have Mental health workshops funded by the council for the communities within Redbridge. We are also providing the reactive immediate support from aftereffects of COVID.
We also aim to put health inequalities in our health strategies to overcome this issue and understand how to deal with this better.
We were asked to share this information with our families and friends both at home in the UK and abroad so that fears can be set aside.
After this event I can confidently say that we were able to rest our minds from any worries about the vaccine as well as being able to know that the aim of taking the vaccine is to protect us a as individuals as my vaccine protects you and your vaccine protects me.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
As women nurture and care for their whole family, a healthy woman is a healthy nation.
Health inequalities in BAME women groups, how does it affect you?
Join us on 13th March 2021 for a discussion about current health inequalities Black and Asian women face.
Join us for part 2 of International Women’s Empowerment month information discussion about the current health inequalities which Black and Asian women face.
The COVID pandemic has shone a light on the health experiences of ethnic minorities. Black women are 5 times more likely to die giving birth than White women. Black and Asian women are less likely to receive good health care support and health outcomes. It is important to remember that the health inequalities hasn’t just occurred because of coronavirus it has always been present, but because of the current climate it has exposed the serious impact these inequalities have on BAME groups.
In this event we hope to raise awareness of these health inequalities faced by ethnic women and the impact it has on us. We hope to raise awareness and be able to challenge these inequalities to allow a better future for BAME women’s health.