Posted on Monday 27 September 2021
Dr Rashidat Rabiu, Esther Onwuemene and Sajit Nilkuntee from the wellness clinic team
Black and Asian people are being invited to attend a dedicated wellness clinic to help detect long-term health conditions that can put them at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ has launched the service for people in Lambeth and Southwark. The project aims to reduce the high levels of undiagnosed health conditions among Black and Asian people, and reduce the health inequality gap that has been brought into sharp focus during the coronavirus pandemic.
In June 2020, Public Health England reported that death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. One of the reasons for this included a high level of pre-existing health conditions.
Research by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity highlights that people from Black and Asian communities in Lambeth and Southwark experience a greater burden of long-term health conditions than people from White ethnic groups, and are likely to get their first long-term condition years earlier than their white neighbours.
Thanks to generous supporters of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the Trust is piloting a six-month project that aims to work in partnership with local faith and community groups to support Black and Asian people to attend health screenings.
As well as running the service from the Walworth Road Clinic in Southwark, the team plan to offer health check-ups after religious services at churches and mosques, and at community centres.
Patients are offered tests for high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and screening for sexually transmitted infections. All participants are sent a letter summarising their findings and health promotion advice, and those with significant findings receive a follow-up.
Dr Rashidat Rabiu, a specialist doctor in sexual reproductive health at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “It’s crucial that we identify people living with multiple long-term health conditions so they can get the right diagnosis and treatment.
“We want to work with faith leaders to improve the health of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in our local boroughs. The insights gained from the pilot project will help us design future approaches to improving the health of other ethnic minority communities in London and beyond.”
Revd Sandra Schloss, from St Luke’s Church in Peckham, said: “The wellness clinic is a great facility for people in the community, it is a service that will help those who are unsure about going to their doctors to have the opportunity on their doorstep to have a full check-up. I totally support this initiative."
The wellness clinic runs on Thursdays between 4pm and 7pm at the Walworth Road Clinic in Southwark.