Rosie Awori (LJI)
In its wake the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 waves left a string of furloughs, layoffs, pay cuts, long term illnesses and deaths. And studies within both Canada and in the United States have shown that the Black community has been disproportionately affected by the virus. And though the virus may not be racist, structural inequalities — the sturdy products of racial discrimination — shape health outcomes.
For example in the United States, in Illinois, 43% of deaths from Covid-19 were from African-Americans. What makes this even more troubling is that African American’s make up a mere 15% of the state’s population. Similarly in Michigan, one third of positive cases are from African Americans again where they make up barely 15% of the population. In Louisiana, about 70 % of the people who have died are black, though they make up only a third of the state’s population.
According to research from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Colombia University, working-age adults, children, and Black Americans will fall below the poverty line at the highest rates because of the coronavirus’ economic effects.
In Canada, race-based data was availed from June 2020, and it also painted a frightening picture. It showed Blacks were disproportionately affected. And this is not only in terms of sickness but according to the, African Caribbean Black – Public Health Agency of Canada, ACB-PHAC, other social determinants should be considered.
Under the leadership Dr. Josephine Eto, a full professor at the University of Ottawa brought together an expert working group of 23 Black academicians, leaders of organisations that provide services to communities across Canada and the public health agency of Canada.
They have put together a survey to look at issues affecting the Black community.
This project wants to look at the impact of COVID-19 and the access of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI) and it also investigates social determinants that affect the Black population.
The study has been approved by the Research Ethics Board of Health Canada/ Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
According to Lillian Azangstop Ndongmo, who is part of the expert working group and is a registered nurse, educator, and doctoral student in nursing. This survey is important to everyone who identifies as Black in order to get a clearer picture on what is happening in Quebec.
The Public Health Agency of Canada wants help to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected access to services for the care and prevention of HIV, hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI). They also want to know how access to drug treatment and harm reduction services (such as addictions counselling and needle distribution programs) have been affected.
“This project is bigger than just sexually transmitted disease and health related issues. When you dig into the questionnaire, you will find that. Even though we have issues regarding STBB eyes and other health related issues, we are also into. social determinants which impact COVID-19. We are all aware and we have heard in the news both in the United States and Canada that Blacks are the hardest hit,” Ndongmo explains.
“The findings are going to help us evaluate the support measures at a regional and national level for the Black community. We can use these findings for advocacy purposes and also develop programs.”
This survey asks questions about changes in access to these services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also asks about mental health, racism, stigma and discrimination, substance use, domestic violence and your housing, social and economic situation because these issues have an impact on access to services.
If you identify as a member of African, Caribbean, and Black communities and are 18 years or older, you are eligible to participate in this survey. The survey will be open until June 25.
To participate: https://ca1se.voxco.com/SE/default.aspx