Closing gaps | Addressing health disparities and equity

health disparities

Improving healthcare access has been a longstanding challenge, particularly for marginalized groups. Black communities have faced significant obstacles in this regard. Nevertheless, both private and government healthcare organizations have been actively working to enhance accessibility.

Understanding health disparities

Health disparities are variations in health outcomes and access to healthcare among different populations. Black communities around the globe encounter numerous disparities, including elevated rates of chronic diseases, restricted access to quality healthcare, and poorer health outcomes when compared to other communities.

A study in Ontario, Canada, from 2001 to 2012 looked at chronic disease rates among Black patients. It found that these individuals (especially women), were at higher risk for diabetes and high blood pressure. 

During the early stages of the pandemic, people of colour were hit hard, they were twice as likely to need hospital admission due to COVID-19. This is due to different factors, some of which include not being able to afford trips to the doctor’s office for early treatment, and racism within the healthcare system leading to people in the Black community having to wait longer to see doctors, as well as not receiving the same medical interventions.

Advocacy for equity in Canadian healthcare

In addition to healthcare professionals, an increasing number of advocates are dedicated to confronting health disparities within the Black community. These advocates engage in various endeavours such as advocating for policy reforms, community initiatives, and educational programs to dismantle systemic barriers to healthcare access.

One notable leader in Canadian healthcare is the Black Health Alliance, who use their influence in the healthcare sector to champion the health and well-being of Black communities. Since it started, the alliance has grown and funded research to fill gaps in care for people of colour and improve access. A significant achievement in recent years was securing joint funding of $1 million to tackle Black youth mental health in collaboration with CAMH, East Metro Youth Services, TAIBU, and Wellesley Institute..

Promising initiatives for health equality

Several initiatives led by Black healthcare professionals and advocates are making headway in addressing health disparities. These initiatives span a spectrum of efforts, from community health clinics providing affordable care to programs focused on improving healthcare literacy. They confront the underlying causes of disparities and effect tangible change. Moreover, they have prompted the launch of federal and provincial programs addressing healthcare inequities people of colour face.

One noteworthy initiative is the Mental Health of Black Canadians Initiative, also known as the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund. This initiative centers on developing culturally relevant knowledge, capacity, and programs to bolster mental health in Black communities. Mental health has garnered significant attention in recent years. With the federal government at the forefront, more provinces are expected to establish their own funds and initiatives focused on mental health for people of colour.

The final word

The struggle against health disparities and healthcare access in Black communities represents an ongoing battle with no clear resolution. However, the dedication of Black healthcare professionals and advocates offers optimism for a more just future.

Persistently raising awareness and supporting these crucial initiatives, contributes to a society where everyone, regardless of background, enjoys access to high-quality healthcare. Ultimately, these endeavours foster a healthier and more just world for all.

Leave a Reply

This is a two step proccess: 1) fill out this form, 2) select a convenient time.

Not ready to book a demo but have a question? No problem! Please call or send us your question.