Health Disparities

The past few days the citizens have been protesting the death of a Black man (George Floyd & so many others) by the hands of the police. It has been heart breaking to say the least. COVID-19 pandemic and this latest death of a Black man by the police while three other policeman watched has sparked outrage and disbelief by many including many white Americans.

The hypocrisy of the system has been put into question. As a result the call for equality in community policing as been the cry. Racism is active in many aspects of American life including healthcare.

Photo by Jennifer Enujiugha on Pexels.co

COVID-19 has exposed the health disparities in this country.  The poor, black and brown communities have to navigate through life without the lack of healthcare related to financial burdens, food deserts, and lack of interest by the masses. 

Health care disparities refers to inequitable differences between groups in health coverage, access to care, and the quality of care received. These differences contribute to health disparities (Wasserman et al., 2019).

Individuals working in lower paying positions find it challenging to manage their health care because they may not have health benefits or make enough to purchase a plan. Some are essential workers that are risking their lives to provide services for the community.

The working poor cannot afford to buy health insurance to cover their healthcare needs.  The neighborhoods do not have grocery stores. There are fast food restaurants, small corner stores and liquor stores that appear to be the only thing that thrives in the neighbor.  It is cheaper to buy a happy meal than to buy a head of lettuce and a tomato.  Why should that be? 

Currently the Navajo Nation reported more coronavirus cases per capita than any state in America (Capatides, 2020). They too have issues with diabetes and hypertension and according to Capatides, (2020) the sickest coronavirus patients have to be flown out of the reservation to a hospital.

The reservation has no hospital to treat patients. They have a clinic. Doctors without Borders have gone into the reservation to assist them. The fragmented nature of how health care is delivered in the United States contributes strongly to health care disparities (Wasserman et al., 2019).

As the riches nation in the world why do we have these issues within this country?  In the 1920’s Black communities flourished and took care of their needs since they were not welcomed in other communities.  All over the United States during this time between 1863-1923 eight thriving Black communities were burned to the ground, desecrated and never rebuilt.

In fact this is the 99th anniversary of the destruction of the Tulsa riots that occurred on May 31, 1921 that killed a Black settlement because of racism. (https://blackthen.com/8-successful-and-triving-black-communities-destroyed-by-racist-white-neighbors/). 

So as you see, things keep happening and many people do not know the plight of the poor, black and brown people. Many feel they should pull themselves up by their books straps, but there are no straps or boots, They were taken away too. Thus these communities are doing their best just to survive.

I do not know what to do about this and it keeps me up at night. The problem is enormous. The Office of Minority Health was created to study racial and ethnic minority health in 1986 (https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/). It is 2020 it is time to implement the plan to change the health outcome for minorities and poor populations within this country.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

“Healthy People is an HHS (health & human service)-led initiative aimed at improving population health and achieving health equity across the nation. For almost four decades, the Healthy People initiative has maintained a set of science-based national objectives for improving health, which has been the framework for public health priorities and actions. Healthy People 2020, The latest set of goals and objectives, features more than 1,200 objectives across 42 topic areas.” https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/law-and-health-policy/topic/leading-health-indicators.

The federal government has many initiatives that are rolled out to the states to address. Community non-profits agencies address specific core issues related to the communities within their state. Review of the (CDC) government website reveals Texas does not have a 2020 plan and maybe this state is utilizing non-profit agencies to address the vulnerable population within this state. The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) was established to address preventative health and we all know how that is going in 2020.  The resistance continues.

ARTICLE CITATION

Capatides, C. (2020, May). Doctors Without Borders dispatches team to the Navajo Nation, CBS, News, Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-without-borders-navajo-nation-coronavirus/

Capatides, C. (2020, May). Doctors Without Borders dispatches team to the Navajo Nation, CBS, News, Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-without-borders-navajo-nation-coronavirus/

Wasserman et al. (2019)Advancing Health Services Research to Eliminate Health Care Disparities”, American Journal of Public Health, 109 (S1), S64-S69. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304922

Published by Dr. Marilyn Crosby, PhD, MBA, RN

An experienced registered nurse with a variety of nursing experience in all many areas of healthcare, including critical care, research, program management quality, and complementary care. I have a passion for "all things related to health & wellness" and want to share pertinent information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: