General health campaigns consistently fail to understand the complexity of black/brown/marginalised communities, and indeed fail to work with them. The approach is often been simplistic and patronising, and often made worse by mainly white-led charities who are too distant from these communities. We end up with one size fits all, generic responses.
COVID has shown brutally that poverty, institutionalised and state sanctioned racism and a lack of power is more likely to lead to worse experiences of health and premature death.
There is a long history of health being done to communities rather than with and this continues today and is being exercised by the Government, NHS and the charity sector.
In an article in Discover Society authors Karim Mitha, Kaveri Qureshi, Shelina Adatia, and Hiten Dodhia, point to public Health England data from mid-September – when a second lockdown was first suggested by SAGE – showed that the highest rates of COVID-19 cases were in the Other Ethnic group (1737 per 100 000) and Pakistanis (1487 per 100 000). Those from White backgrounds have the second lowest rates (490 per 100 000 population). Data from ICNARC up to 22 October 2020 showed the substantial effect of deprivation with more than three times the number of critically ill cases in the North, North East, and Midlands coming from the most deprived backgrounds.
Mortality data from the first wave showed BAME individuals were of a younger age group (Oxford Covid-19 Data Service; ICNARC; Zakeri at al) and required greater critical care support (ICNARC; Pan et al).
The authors go on to state that racism must be seen as a fundamental cause of health inequalities.
What We Did
We have worked with a number of scientists, GPs, community organisations, community researchers to create a series of films in different languages to give advice that is contextualised and produced in collaboration with communities who are affected the most.
You can view each video here: