Why Confronting Race Issues in Healthcare Should Be a Global Issue

Healthcare is a continuous topic of conversation for many reasons — with systemic race issues being one of the most significant.

Unfortunately, racism remains embedded in the industry. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone’s not treated differently at the doctor’s office because of the color of their skin, patients and professionals alike.

It isn’t right, and it isn’t fair. We know this. And so many people are fighting for a just, racism-free healthcare system. But confronting race issues in healthcare must be a worldwide effort. Here’s why. 

The World Is Still Struggling With Racism

If you’re living in the U.S., you know how much this country is struggling with racism. It plagues not just our healthcare system but our justice, education, economic, and societal systems.

As prominent as racism is in the U.S., other countries are navigating race issues that are just as strong. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Qatar, South Korea, and Israel round out the top five on the list of the worst countries for racial equality.

The entire world is struggling with racism. And if it’s floating around in a country, you better believe it’s a core part of their healthcare systems.

Diversity Is Global 

There may be small towns and cities that have managed to keep their populations restricted to a specific race, but these are few and far between. For the most part, diversity is global.

Everyone has their unique racial and ethnic makeup. And they reside all around the world. Wherever they’re located, they’ll need healthcare. So, it’s imperative to rid healthcare systems of racism worldwide to support global diversity.

Access to Healthcare Is a Global Issue 

Many factors contribute to whether someone has access to good healthcare. Their economic status, educational background, and geographical location are three big ones.

Unfortunately, someone’s race can negatively impact where they live, how much money they make, and their schooling. If they live in a bad area, don’t have access to a good education, and can’t make a good living, their access to healthcare will also be impacted.

The above is happening to people all over the world hence why we must improve the quality of living for people across the globe so that access to healthcare will get better too. 

Everyone Should Feel Safe Getting Care

Racism is dangerous. There’s no denying the violent acts that have happened simply because someone doesn’t like another person’s race, from shootings to killings to bullying to severe beatings.

Although there are security guards and law enforcement at many healthcare facilities, race-based violence can break out anytime. This causes people of various races to feel unsafe in healthcare facilities — so much so that they put their healthcare on the back burner.

Everyone everywhere should feel safe getting care. And we have to fight for this. 

We Want a Healthier World, Right?

People worldwide are struggling to maintain their health and wellness. Of course, individual choices play a part in this struggle. But so does the lack of access to quality healthcare and the treatment people face in the system.

If we want a healthier world, we must confront the issues that prevent this from happening, starting with the race issues invading healthcare systems globally. 

We’re Better Together 

As valuable as individual efforts are in the fight for more welcoming, just healthcare, these efforts impact local healthcare movements the most. If we really want change in the healthcare industry to happen worldwide, countries and the people in them must band together.

We can stop racism in healthcare globally faster when we’re all working diligently toward the same goal. 

How We Can Start Making Progress 

Getting the world to work together to confront and stop racism in healthcare won’t be easy. And if we’re being sincere, many of us won’t see a healthcare system completely void of racism in our lifetimes.

Still, patients, practitioners, activists, and anyone who wants to get involved can take action now to make healthcare anti-racist.

First, race needs to be a core curriculum in medical school and training internationally. Teaching students about critical race theory, historical racism and violence, and how racism presents itself in the healthcare industry will help them become more culturally competent and caring. It will also prepare them to provide care to a diverse patient pool.

Next, healthcare can benefit tremendously from eliminating silos. Without them, healthcare professionals will have access to patient and facility information that can transform their approach to care. Even if a patient travels to another country, the doctor they’re working with can see their medical history and communicate with their healthcare team in the states to develop the best patient care plan.

Lastly, healthcare professionals around the world need to get deeply involved in advocacy work. Become a member of the diversity and inclusion board. Fight for international healthcare rights. Campaign for better social determinants of health, such as access to affordable health insurance, economic stability for underrepresented groups, and quality education.

Confronting racism in healthcare and eliminating it is possible. We may not see it for generations. But it’s so worth the effort for how it can transform people’s health journeys across the globe.

[Photo by cottonbro studio, via Pexels]

*Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer who lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to politics, social justice, and workplace issues. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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