Black Health is Wealth was the theme of ECA's Black History Month event held at the Green Towers Community Centre in Edmonton on Saturday. More than 180 people came to the all-day event. The opening address was made by the Mayor of Enfield, Cllr Suna Hurman.
The event was supported by Charles Kwaku-Odoi, CEO of the Caribbean and Affrican Health Network (CAHN). The Manchester-based organisation aims to eradicate health inequalities within a generation for Caribbean & African people. The vision of CAHN, to end the health inequality and disparities of the African-Caribbean people, compared to wider community within a generation.
Riyad Karim, Assistant Director of Primary Care for NHS Enfield and Dudu Sher-Arami, Director of Public Health in Enfield also addressed the audience. She sought the views of the gathering on the new healthcare strategy, particularly focussing on access to the NHS services.
Dr Julie Hammond, GP and an advanced medical aesthetics practitioner, hosted CATHIP's Health Hour from Green Towers. Her talk focused on the importance of increasing screening and testing in the black community. Dr Hammond also addressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle and remained at Green Towers for the rest of the day, providing blood pressure testing to everyone who wanted the test. She was also joined by Tracey Cowan, an NHS nurse who also provided the attendees the opportunity to have their blood sugar levels measured, to provide an early detection for diabetes.
A full English breakfast and delicious Caribbean brunch was available to all event attendees.
In the afternoon, the audience were further empowered with knowledge and information from Dr Emmanuel Ako, a consultant cardiologist talking specifically talking about heart health. Sickle Cell awareness was also raised by Ohenewaah Affum, a senior biomedical scientist who specialises in the disease.
Errol McKellar’s journey with prostrate cancer
Errol Mckellar spoke movingly about his journey with prostate cancer. His entire life changed in 2010 when he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer.
Errol didn't have any symptoms but whilst waiting for an appointment with his GP he read a leaflet about the illness and asked to be tested. His PSA level came back a bit high and further tests revealed he had 92% prostate cancer.
In February 2011 Errol had an operation to remove his prostate and went on to have three months of radiotherapy and has now been given the all-clear. Errol founded the Errol McKellar Foundation and now dedicating his time raising awareness about prostrate cancer in the black community.
Evelyn Joseph, Black Women Rising
Evelyn Joseph, breast cancer survivor from Black Women Rising also spoke about her personal experience battling the disease. The Black Women Rising cancer support project is the flagship programme of The Leanne Pero Foundation, a registered UK charity offering vital help, information and practical advice for people of colour who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The most recent success of Black Women Rising has seen the launch of the Black Women Rising Magazine which will serve as another opportunity to empower women of colour as they navigate their cancer journeys. The mission at Black Women Rising is to educate, inspire and bring opportunities for women from the BAME community, to connect with one another and share their stories, without fear or shame.
Following the talks, attendees got the opportunity to participate in several enlightening workshops. These included:
- My Art is My Therapy facilitated by Dacika Wallace. The workshop provided an immersive art-making experience where the attendees explored the therapeutic benefits of creative expression.
- Nutrition for Good Health was facilitated by Jean Jean-Marie focussing on the impact of food choices and supplements on our health and wellbeing.
- Fitness & Health, facilitated by Jackie Dyer got workshop attendees on their feet. Jackie started the workshop with a brief presentation about the benefits of exercising, particularly to music. Then Green Towers enjoyed the got the audience dancing (and moving from the chair) to the rhythms of Zumba music in her workshop.
According to Oveta McInnis, ECA chair, “This year’s event was a small step in redressing the imbalance in health outcomes for the African and Caribbean communities. Unfortunately, we suffer from higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes. The Covid-19 pandemic had a bigger impact on our community, in terms of hospitalisation and deaths and highlighted the health inequalities in society.
We were delighted that so many top doctors and health specialists provided our community with the information and tools to improve their own health literacy.”
ECA will be uploading our photographs of the event on our Black History Month page soon.