Healthcare Inequities in Black and Brown Communities

Local free clinic provides care for the uninsured

According to a new report by early childhood nonprofit ZERO TO THREE, where a baby is born— in Toledo, Ohio or NYC, New York, for example— can have major implications for the rest of his/her life. The data also confirm that Black and Brown babies begin life with disadvantages, regardless of where they are born.

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 reveals that systemic racism and social injustices adversely affect communities of color and that major inequities begin before birth, especially for Black children. The comprehensive look that the Yearbook takes concerning how a child’s birthplace influences the rest of his/her life includes a deeper look at equity, finding that Black and Brown infants and toddlers are more likely to be poor, to be born too small or too soon, and to live in environments that challenge their families’ security.

Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE, explained in a press release that Black babies are more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies. Furthermore, Black women have a higher maternal mortality rate, dying close to three times as often as white women

“Black women have a 55 percent higher rate of preterm births than white women,” Jones-Taylor explains. “This is an unmitigated crisis that impacts babies and families in every single state in our country, and it has long-lasting impacts throughout our lives. If we want to truly address the issues plaguing Black and Brown communities in the United States, we need to start by identifying disparities, addressing them with specific policies and budgets, and making the potential of every baby a national priority.”

Toledo’s Halim Clinic

Akram Assaly, an internal medicine physician assistant (PA) at Halim Clinic, a free health clinic in Toledo founded in 2017 to serve uninsured patients in the Toledo area, said some maternal diseases can be prevented and treated.  “Preterm births specifically can be caused by diabetes in mothers. Diabetes is one of those diseases that is plaguing the minority community and its ugly effects show up in all facets of life, including childbirth,” Assaly said. “With regular screenings, we can catch pre-diabetics before they progress into full-blown diabetics.”

Assaly explains that the Halim Clinic offers treatment of diabetes and other preventable diseases, such as hypertension and obesity: “For most patients, it’s simply a matter of access to care, which we provide.  (The Clinic) was specifically created as an initiative by the Muslim community to spread the message of Islam through actions that benefit the community,” he said. “We are relatively well-equipped and funded for a free clinic and have the capability to do minor procedures and dispense some commonly used medications. We have a rotating group of physicians, from various specialties, that provide excellent quality care. Not only that, but we provide continuing care rather than treat and let them go.”

Halim Clinic, 6855 Spring Valley Drive, Suite 160, Holland. Saturdays 9AM – 1PM. 567-318-4609.

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