Survey partly carried out in Oldham indicates BAME community 'more likely to die from coronavirus'

Date published: 07 October 2020

Health charity Antibiotic Research UK has warned that members of the BAME community are more likely to die from coronavirus than white people - and have an increased chance of succumbing to deadly superbugs such as MRSA.

Examining data from the UK, USA and Europe, ARUK revealed that people from BAME communities were more susceptible to antibiotic resistant infections.

ARUK's views are backed-up by a snapshot survey of people in predominantly Asian communities spanning Oldham, Bolton and Rochdale.

This study of 300 people also gave an insight into how BAME communities state they receive their communications and they bemoan a lack of exercise facilities and nutritional advice on food.

Professor Colin Garner, Chief Executive of Antibiotic Research UK, said: “Many of us are aware that the number of deaths from COVID-19 are disproportionate in BAME communities, and an awful lot of conjecture and damaging rumour has been put forward as to why that has happened.

"As our analysis has showed, it is not genetic make-up, but rather health inequalities that have caused this situation.

"Ten million people per year are predicted to die from antibiotic-resistant infections by 2050 and as the number of antibiotic-resistant infections continues to increase, we need to act now to prevent this becoming another pandemic that highlights the inequalities still present in our society.”

Despite conjecture about how South Asian communities should receive health messages (and in what language), the ARUK survey actually showed that many prefer to seek its guidance from television news, friends, and family.

The survey also indicates that authorities were also failing to realise the impact of positive role models in promoting good health.

One such is Oldhamer Akke Rahman, otherwise known as the Bengali Mountaineer.

The adventurer, who has just conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc, said: “Like most people within my community, I really didn’t know or understand much about antibiotic resistance.

"The fact that another pandemic could be destined to affect our community disproportionately, is really worrying.

"Organisations have to look at the way they manage health services and transmit messages to what is a very diverse population.

"It is not simply a matter of translating leaflets into Urdu and leaving them in health centres.

"People from BAME communities want to be well and play their part in ensuring others are protected, too.

"I salute organisations like Antibiotic Research UK for reaching out."

Antibiotic Research UK’s Patient Support service has grown during the pandemic and offers advice and information via the phone or online.

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