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African Americans and Health Care : A Statistical Analysis of Availability, Accessibility and Affordability

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The paper reveals the African American healthcare disparities that they faced in all fields of treatment like cancer, heart diseases, mental health etc.


African American healthcare depicts the disparities in the treatment meted out to them with regard to improper access to healthcare facilities. They faced discrimination in all fields of healthcare like mental health, kidney diseases and infant mortality. The healthcare system was introduced in the year 1929 in Texas. The question as to whether disparities existed in the healthcare system is in the affirmative. The purpose of this paper is to outline these disparities and suggest measures to bring forth improvements and abolish the differences. The system of healthcare is fragmented and confusing and as well expensive which poses as a confrontation for the African Americans (Taylor. J, 2019).

History of African American health:

The African American health will not have scope for improvement if there is no equality and justice in treatment. These words were said by Dr. Martin Luther King. Since the era of slavery, African Americans were not in good health. The period of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement in 1960 played their part in bringing out improvements in disparity. However, this period lasted for only ten years. The healthcare facilities are based on race and material wealth rather than the need for proper medical treatment. High insurance costs have led the African Americans to meet huge medical expenses on their own, which is beyond their capacity. The African Americans have been treated as objects for conducting experiments (Walker.J. D, 2012). Imhotep was the first physician to propagate Greek medicine. He lived during the slave period and there was hardly any medical progress during that period. The slave trade in the ‘Middle Passage’ led to Tuberculosis, measles etc. During the Colonial era, slaves were tortured and provided with unhygienic conditions to live in. In the Republic period, the African Americans were used for conducting experiments on their body and this was done to fulfil the doctor’s needs and not the patient’s. The Jacksonian era saw the prevalence of Gynecological diseases and fertility issues. The doctors as well did not follow any moral values. The African Americans were depicted in an indecent manner in medicine schools. On the other hand, some doctors paved the way for a sound medical profession. During the Civil War and Reconstruction period between 1861 and 1900, the African Americans died of war wounds as there were no doctors to attend on them. In 1964 and 1965, efforts to provide decent health care facilities were made (An American Health Dilemma: a History of Blacks in the Health System, (n.d).

Racism in Many Forms:

Racism was the main contributory factor for disparities in the health care system as this gave rise to mental health diseases and chronic illnesses. Inflammation of the body organs by racism gave rise to cancer, heart diseases and neurological problems. The discrimination shown to the African Americans in employment and payment of wages due to racist attitudes as well gave rise to health problems. Doctors were hostile towards them during treatment, their body was used for conducting experiments, all of which made them fear and apprehensive of medical treatment. Environmental racism is well a factor which proved detrimental to the health of the African Americans There are no proper parks or play grounds wherein they can play or exercise. Hospitals as well are situated near to places in which the affluent people reside. The second form is Institutionalized racism where the African Americans are not provided an equal treatment especially in heart surgeries. The third form is the racist attitude which is shown towards African American doctors by the American patients (Novoa. C, & Taylor. J, 2018).

Social and Economic Factors:

Penury as well gave rise to many diseases and the African Americans were poor compared to the Americans. They were provided with low income jobs, which did not carry any benefits like insurance for health. They had to spend their own savings with the result that there was no money left for them to buy their own houses and they lived in places where there was pollution and unsanitary conditions. The high costs of medical care made them debt ridden. Access to
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