-Task govts on removal of racism in healthcare systems
The coalition of Nigerian healthcare professionals in diaspora, consisting the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA); the National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America(NANNNA) and the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceuticals Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) have decried the recent gruesome murder of George Floyd, and have called for justice to done on perpetrators.
The practitioners have also drawn governments’ attention to the deep- seated racism and discrimination in the healthcare system, saying a reform of the system is imperative for the minority to have unfettered access to healthcare.
“We call on all relevant authorities at local, state and federal levels to act with dispatch and bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice”, they insisted.
In a press statement jointly signed by the presidents of the associations, Dr Charmaine Emelife, president, ANPA; Dr Emilia Iwu, president, NANNNA; and Dr Anthony Ikeme, president, NAPPSA, expressed their solidarity with other well-meaning citizens and organisations in denouncing violence against minorities in the form of structural racism.
They said: “Psychosocial stresses that promotes poor wellbeing and antisocial behaviours, especially among communities of colours, can be traced to persistent acts of structural oppression and dehumanization of the population. It is not surprising that chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and other preventable diseases are more prevalent in minority populations.
“These populations also lack access to adequate healthcare, due to structural barriers rooted in hundreds of years of systematic exclusion”, they stated.
The diaspora practitioners further submitted that it is not surprising in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, that the minority of colours, have disproportionately been affected in terms of death and disability. With the stay at home rule, minorities were also the most burdened.
They observed the impact of the discrimination in the healthcare system, saying it has exposed the fragmented healthcare structures and the lingering disparities based on race and socio-economic status. “This racism that has permeated the healthcare system needs urgent reform. We understand the deep hurt our brothers and sisters in the Africa-American community feel and condemn its perpetuation.
“There should be zero tolerance for racial discrimination, factional killing of minorities and should apply nonthreatening approach to policing”, the practitioners maintained.
They however sympathised with the bereaved families and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all other numerous victims of police violence. “May their souls rest in peace .May our communities heal and find the courage to address systemic injustices and create a more equitable society for all Americans irrespective of race, creed, gender or orientation”, they prayed.
In an exclusive chat with Pharmanewsonline, the NAPPSA President why they had to team up with other practioners, saying “being mindful of the collective pain we all share following the viral video of the brutal murder of George Floyd and the gut-wrenching scenes that have played out in cities all over the country in the past one week, NAPPSA decided to join other healthcare professionals to make our voice count through the statement.
“To raise the tenor and reach of our voice, we partnered with our sister Nigerian Healthcare Professional organizations (ANPA and NANNNA) to make this happen”, Ikeme explained.