Disparities in healthcare for reasons of ethnicity should be resolved. Coronavirus, maternal healthcare and some diseases

By Bioethics Observatory|September 3rd, 2020|BioethicsBIOETHICS NEWSHuman RightsMedical DeontologyNEWS|0 Comments

Disparities in maternal health care, as reported in the February 2020 issue of the British Medical Journal,  are one of the paradigms of inequalities in women’s health care for ethnic reasons. Between 2014 and 2016, the rate of maternal death in pregnancy of white women in the United Kingdom was 8 per 100,000 compared to 15 per 100,000 Asian women and 40 per 100,000 black women. There is a similar picture in the US.

Health care disparities in the current pandemic

These ethnic differences also occur in the care of people affected by coronavirus (NHS data), as the same journal reported recently – June 2, 2020. “A report by the intensive care national audit and research center (ICNARC) found that 33% of 9347 patients (correct as of 29 May) who were admitted to intensive care were from ethnic minority backgrounds and 16% of total national deaths (correct as of 29 May) from coronavirus have been in people from ethnic minority backgrounds, despite only making up 14% of the UK population. The coronavirus mortality risk was 62% higher for Asian people and 71% higher for black people compared to white people even when controlling for age, gender, body mass index, co-morbidities and deprivation.” To what extent is it racial discrimination? This is a great bioethical issue.

More areas of healthcare questioned

The issue is being studied by different associations. We excerpt this from a recent article: “According to the American Cancer Society, from 2012 to 2016, colorectal cancer rates in African-Americans were 20% higher than in whites, and death rates jumped 40% higher.” The article continues “The Health Equity team at Sentara is looking into how economic status, access to health care, transportation and other social determinants affect health in order to identify potential causes of health inequity in our community. They’re working in partnership with community physicians, organizations and all Sentara facilities to achieve more equitable health care.” (read HERE)