African immigrants speak out about health equity in Northeast Ohio


Connecting the Dots Between Race and Health Prepares Stories of Barriers to Health Access in Northeast Ohio’s Immigrant Communities Today.

Throughout the Connecting the Dots project, Ideastream Public Media partnered with community organizations, independent journalists, artists and community leaders to develop projects that explored the connection between race and health from unique and often overlooked perspectives.

The four-story series, which began today, was created by a group of historians from Northeast Ohio and focuses on immigrant history.

Sidney Kornegay, a freelance journalist and former director of adult programs at Immigrant Response, an organization that supports returning immigrants, edited it as part of the Connecting the Dots between Race and Health project.

“I wanted to find ways to combine the two to allow members of our community to tell their own stories, experience the crafts they love, and touch on some important topics that are often overlooked, underreported,” she says.

The storytellers save and create the stories that include digital and video clips. Kornegay said the challenges immigrants face in finding work in the medical field and health equity issues impact underserved communities.

“A lot of times when you read stories about inequality and health disparities, they’re usually stories written about people and the individuals who are affected by it,” she says. “I just think so [the latter] It raises the level of awareness and insight to hear from individuals themselves, their views on how inequality affects them in their communities.

Immigrants come from diverse cultures, but they often share unequal treatment in health care systems, including lack of health insurance, working conditions, and barriers to access to quality health care. As CIt is necessary for disease control and prevention (CDC).

Each episode of this series follows one person’s experience of facing health barriers as an immigrant. In the first episode, historian Jonas Mbonga turns the lens on himself and his experience of applying for US asylum.

“It was focused on the mental and physical health effects of incarceration on him and the people he was with, but also on the support system he had while he was there and has supported him since he got out.” Kornegay said.

Read part one here:

Jonas Mbonga, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, fled to escape the increasingly political situation. The trip brought him to America where he was arrested while seeking asylum. He said the experience affected his health.

The second story that will be published tomorrow features the co-founder, Ikena Ogugebe Icon Health Foundation, an organization that improves access to health screenings – so immigrants can get information about mostly preventable diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. He came to Cleveland from Nigeria at the age of 11. While attending pharmacy school, he volunteered with various health organizations and realized the need for culturally competent health care providers, including those from immigrant communities.

“A lot of it was very disappointing. [refugees] does not [have basic health information,]”Oguggebe talked about what happened earlier in the health check. “They brought their medicines for us to see. They didn’t know they were taking medicine for anything. Some didn’t even know how to use the respirators they had. I realized there was a lot of work to be done.

Part Three Juvens Nyonzima Refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (DRC) (DRC) (Republican Republic) will explore the work.

Nyonzima talks about what it took to get into the hospital laboratory from the cleaners in the system.

In Part Four, Esther Negemba examines the mental health effects of attending schools for immigrant children in America. Check out ideastream.org in the coming weeks for Ngemba’s story.





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