Black people face a range of health and socioeconomic inequities that are increasing their risk of poor health outcomes. Undiagnosed comorbidities are also a major contributor to the worsening of the health of Black people. It is therefore important to identify racial disparities in health, to understand the causes of these inequities and to increase the capacity of government entities and workers to address them. This article explores the ways in which racism contributes to these inequities.
Health inequalities are a public health threat that can have both direct and indirect consequences. The degree of inequalities varies substantially among countries and can vary by type of health. Identifying opportunities for reduction of inequalities may help governments address the problem.
Socioeconomic inequalities have long been linked to poor health outcomes. This association is reflected in regression-based inequality indexes. For example, higher rates of death are observed among persons with fewer educational achievements. This implies that policies aimed at socially disadvantaged groups should be prioritised.
Inequalities in health are a problem in the United States, where individuals with less education have higher mortality rates. This may be a result of a range of factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, and working conditions. It is also possible that differences in mortality are a consequence of causes of death amenable to medical intervention. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that addressing these gradients will require policies that apply to a large proportion of the population.
Disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. In many cases, these communities have been disproportionately affected due to structural racism.
While the overall mortality rate has decreased since the onset of the pandemic, disparities remain in some areas. These disparities are rooted in generations of neglect and disinvestment in public health infrastructure. However, more recent efforts to address them are underway.
As a result, there are disproportionate rates of poor health outcomes among members of these communities. These include infants and pregnant women.
These disparities are especially prevalent in lower income populations and in communities of color. They are often rooted in factors such as housing segregation and discriminatory banking practices that prevent people of color from acquiring economic security. The result is a built environment that is less healthy and a lack of access to health care.
During the onset of the pandemic, racial disparities widened for Black women. In particular, racial differences in maternal death rates increased significantly.
Undiagnosed comorbidity led to worse health outcomes for Black people
The comorbidity phenomenon is a major problem in the United States, and Black and African Americans suffer the highest rates. The number of individuals with at least five comorbidities is one in three adults. This is a staggering statistic, considering that a large proportion of those individuals have chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Although the number of deaths from diabetes is low, the incidence of diabetics is high amongst the African American population. The leading risk factors for diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure. Several years ago, the top 10 causes of death for the United States included diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The fact of the matter is that health care for those with multiple comorbidities is challenging. It is estimated that a large proportion of patients in a treatment program do not complete the course of treatment. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including stigma, a lack of culturally appropriate services, and inadequate transportation.
Increasing the capacity of government entities and workers to address racism
Increasing the capacity of government entities and workers to address racism is an important step toward the elimination of racial inequities in health. As public health and policy experts have pointed out, racial inequities in the United States are due to both historical and contemporary oppression. To address these issues, it is crucial to understand the history and the current state of racism.
The first step is to name racism as a public health crisis. This is a powerful and symbolic act. It acknowledges the trauma of the past and speaks to the need for continued advocacy. It also highlights the importance of large-scale solutions.
There are many ways to address racism. These include the hiring practices of government entities. It is vital that resolutions address the effects of racism on the communities affected. This should include review of policies relating to hiring and promotion, as well as training and support for staff members.