People of color in the United States are targets of racial bias in the medical field; that’s something we all know and many of us have experienced. But it is something that is also happening around the world, specifically in the United Kingdom. Which shouldn’t be a shocker.
As people in the U.S. are taking their children to get vaccinated and people who are already vaccinated are lining up to get their boosters, people of color are the most negatively affected group when it comes to COVID-19 across the globe.
According to The Sunday Times, Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, is trying to ensure that devices used internationally in hospitals and other medical spaces be tested on all races before they are sold. He is working with Xavier Bacerra, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Research has shown that oximeters, which are devices that monitor oxygen levels in the blood and check if patients need treatment to save their lives, are not as accurate on people with darker skin per the report from The Sunday Times.
Data shows that deaths from coronavirus among people of color were two to four times greater than those who are white in England according to data from Public Health England.
From The Sunday Times:
When I walk to my office, there’s a board showing everyone who’s held this role for over a century, and being the first name on that list from an ethnic minority is a responsibility I take very seriously.
I’m determined to take a fresh perspective to this position, and do whatever it takes so that in this country, your health and your experience of health and care isn’t dictated by where you live or where you come from.
Because although we’ve come together as a nation to fight this virus, the pandemic has shown that in many areas we’re far apart. At the height of the Covid peak last winter, black, Asian, and other minority ethnic groups made up 28 percent of critical-care admissions in England — about double their representation in the population as a whole. So one of my first visits in this role was to Blackpool, one of the parts of this country where life expectancy is in decline. I spoke about the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, an organization that was launched last month and has so much potential to tackle these injustices.
It seems that Javid is not just committed to people of color when it comes to COVID-19 and is looking to improve racial disparities with other health crises that go in communities with people of color.
I want to fix these disparities wherever I find them. For instance, a report last week highlighted how sickle cell patients, who are primarily from an African or Caribbean background, “too often receive substandard care”.
It seems that Javid is committed to ensuring that people of color across the world gain more trust in the medical field and ensuring that they keep us healthy.
Lord knows they have not in the past. But, if this review is going to lead to improvements in lowering the racial disparity in coronavirus and other life-threatening diseases, we should be all for it.
Because why should people of color be thinking “this device is going to hurt more than it’s going to help me” when it should be used to save everyone’s lives, not just white people.