Black History Month: Richard Wayoe shares his story

Published: 20th October 2022

To celebrate Black History Month, we have been speaking with our staff to find out more about what Black History Month means to them, changes they would like to see at CLCH, and their favourite Black heroes. This week, we had a catch up with Richard Wayoe, Health Equalities Programme Manager. Richard is Ghanaian.

What does Black History mean to you?

Black history is crucial as it is the time we move the historical spotlight onto pivotal Black figures who have contributed to society.

These much-overlooked acts bear significance as they have come in the form of adopted culture (take Jamaica’s indelible influence on world music, cuisine and fashion), seminal works (e.g. the Yoruba number system using a base of 20), movements for independence (e.g. Kwame Nkrumah and the liberation of Ghana as a republic from 1957) and equal rights (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fight for civil rights for African Americans) amongst other historical breakthroughs.

Black history is an opportunity to learn about the richness, influence and diversity of Black societies across the world, how they have endeavoured for parity and how they have unequivocally changed the way we operate today.

The theme this year is ‘Time for Change: Action not Words’ what change would you like to see in CLCH this year?

As a member of staff working to tackle health inequalities, there is a dearth of information regarding the ethnicity of a significant proportion of our service users. Where we know a number of diseases and disorders are related to ethnicity, it is essential that we understand more about the ethnic backgrounds of our patient population.

I would like all staff who note the absence of ethnicity information in a clinical record to feel empowered to ask about a patient’s ethnicity for the purpose of being proactive in catering to their care.

Who is your favourite Black hero and why?

My favourite black hero is not someone from yesteryear but is actually a fifth year medical student at St. George’s University, London.

In 2020, Malone Mukwende received a grant and co-authored Mind the Gap, a clinical handbook seeking to fill gaps in medical literature regarding people with black and brown skin.

Malone recognised that much of our medical knowledge and research is Eurocentric in its scope and embarked on rectifying what is a health inequalities issue i.e. that medical literature does not account for people with black and brown skin and is discriminatory as a result.

Since the handbook’s publication, it has featured on several news platforms, and I believe this book will be viewed as a watershed moment for equalities in medicine and research. Malone Mukwende is undoubtedly a Black hero.

Malone Mukwende

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