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Lewisham partners with Birmingham for 18-month review into Black African and Caribbean health inequalities

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Black African and Caribbean communities are disproportionately affected by health problems in the UK, while Black Caribbean people suffer nearly three times the death rate from COVID-19 compared to that of white people.  

The Birmingham and Lewisham African and Caribbean Health Inequalities Review (BLACHIR) will cover an 18-month period and look at specific issues such as health conditions, lifestyle, mental health, employment, and housing. 

According to the 2011 Census, 46.5 per cent of Lewisham’s population are from BAME groups with the largest ethnic minority group being Black African (11.6 per cent) and Black Caribbean (11.2 per cent) – 77 per cent of Lewisham’s schools population is of BAME heritage.

In Birmingham, 42 per cent of the population and 60 per cent of children under five were from BAME groups compared to 17 per cent in England.  

 

Birmingham accounts for about eight per cent of the total Black African and Caribbean population of England. 

The review, which looks to ‘break the cycle of inequalites’, aims to inform the work of the councils’ health and wellbeing Board partnership, the NHS, and academic, community, and voluntary sector partners “to make sustainable changes that start to address decades of inequalities”. 

Lewisham mayor Damien Egan said “learning lessons needs to start now”. 

“This is not just about the impact Coronavirus is having on BAME communities, but prompted by this current pandemic, we must seize the opportunity to drive an evidence-led approach on addressing health inequalities. 

“For some time now, we have been gathering insights into the health inequalities facing Black African and Caribbean communities in Lewisham to drive our public health plans.  

“News of the coronavirus-related deaths of frontline workers from these communities is heart breaking and a stark reminder that we need to urgently address these health inequalities,” he said.  

member for health and social care and chair of the health and wellbeing board at Birmingham City Council, said: “Both Birmingham and Lewisham have high levels of deprivation and poor health that disproportionately affect certain communities.  

“It is really important that our public health experts pool their knowledge to address these issues and by working in partnership they should get a broader insight into each community and an opportunity to compare and contrast experiences in two local authority areas.” 

Cllr John Cotton, cabinet member for social inclusion, community safety and equalities at Birmingham City Council, said: “This review will explore in depth these inequalities, looking at specific issues such as health conditions, lifestyle, mental health and wider factors such as employment and housing.  

“We have to find ways of breaking the decades of inequality in sustainable ways that will lead to better futures for local citizens.” 

Dr Catherine Mbema, Director of Public Health at Lewisham Council said: “It’s a unique and ambitious initiative.

“Driven by local communities, overseen by local government with the academic focus, we are determined to ensure this review will point to clear solutions that we hope will inform decision-making within government.”

Ref: https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/18430543.lewisham-partners-birmingham-18-month-review-black-african-caribbean-health-inequalities/?fbclid=IwAR0P4ni0yOTe3sdBU-Id61UTwNlOCdQdPzEoRNlbHtb8i0TCTpaNebA7FFs

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