Image of black woman wearing a face mask

Community health centre and hospital team up to address rising COVID-19 rates in Toronto’s Black communities

Campaign targets misinformation, testing and support services

As​ COVID-19 ​cases continue to rise, TAIBU Community Health Centre and Scarborough Health Network ​have launched their “Taking care of Blackl ives” campaign to provide specific messaging and resources to ​African Caribbean and Black (ACB) ​communities across hot spots in Scarborough and throughout the city.​

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence has shown that racialized communities across the city have been disproportionately affected by the virus, especially among Toronto’s Black residents. According to recent figures from Toronto Public Health, while the Black community represents 9% of the city’s population, however Black residents currently account for 24% of all new COVID-19 cases.

“While COVID-19 public health and economic crisis has affected everyone across the board, there are particular and unique needs and circumstances impacting the Black community,” stated TAIBU CHC’s Executive Director, Liben Gebremikael. “In this regard, it is imperative that we employ specific awareness, testing and support tactics and measures that will be most effective.”

TAIBU cites Black Torontonians are more likely to work in service jobs that can’t be performed at home, putting them at a greater risk of exposure. TAIBU also explains that a long history of mistrust in the healthcare system, misinformation, precarious employment as well as asymptomatic transmission in multi-generational households have also contributed to low testing yet contracting the virus at higher rates.

“Through community-led prevention efforts and working with TAIBU, we hope to helpaddress the disparity in COVID-19 infection rates we are seeing,” said Liz Buller,President and CEO, Scarborough Health Network. “As a healthcare facility servingracialized communities, we are dedicated to making COVID-19 screening available andwidely accessible. Together, with a renewed strategic focus and targeted campaign wehope to show that access to COVID-19 care should be prioritized for all communities.”

Additional related campaign efforts include:

  • Partnering with local community, health, and faith-based leaders and organizations to do local outreach and promote pop-up testing sites.
  • Working with area hospitals and other community health providers, such as Scarborough Health Network to provide information, access to services, and health items such as masks and hand sanitizer to communities in need.
  • Utilizing a multi-channel media approach and modern technology to communicate information, COVID-19 prevention tactics, and create awareness about testing and resources available to families in need.

About TAIBU Community Health Centre ​

TAIBU provides primary health care and related services for Black populations across the Greater Toronto Area as its priority population and residents of the local community of Malvern. Recognizing that systemic oppression has fostered conditions of ill-health with Black communities, TAIBU strive to deliver these services through intersectional, equity based and culturally affirming practices which promote holistic wellness, health education, and prevention.

Contact

Liben Gebremikael
Executive Director, TAIBU
416-644-3539
ed@taibuchc.ca