What is BLACHIR?

A partnership between the Lewisham Council and Birmingham City Council has been announced as work begins on a ground-breaking review to gather insights on health inequalities within Black African and Caribbean communities in Birmingham and Lewisham.

Both Birmingham and Lewisham Public Health Divisions shared a joint aspiration to address this and improve ethnic inequalities, through an increased understanding, appreciation, and engagement with BAME groups. This resulted in a collaboration between the two local authorities to share knowledge and resources through a review process. By focusing on different ethnic groups and communities separately, beginning with the Black African and Black Caribbean communities, this will enable a more detailed and culturally sensitive approach to the review.

This approach is a pilot and Birmingham is keen to explore the potential to replicate this process for other communities if it proves to be successful.

Birmingham and Lewisham

Birmingham is home to 8% of the overall African and Caribbean population of England. In Lewisham, Black Africans and those of Caribbean descent represent the largest population groups, amongst those of BAME heritage.

National research shows significant health inequalities are affecting Black African and Caribbean communities, which are perpetuated by inequalities in the wider determinants of health such as housing, employment, and education. These have been exacerbated by Covid-19 and undoubtedly underpin some of the excess deaths in these populations.

The Review

As part of this partnership, we have recruited 15 Academics and 9 Advisory board members to provide external independent input to the review and its recommendations.

Over the next 18 months, they will work to synthesize the scientific evidence and to represent the lived experience of the Black African and Black Caribbean communities in Lewisham, Birmingham, and nationally in terms of health inequalities.

The review will discuss the following themes:

  • Racism and discrimination role in health inequalities
  • Wider determinants of health
  • Early years, pregnancy and parenthood
  • Children and young people
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Aging well
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Chronic disease
  • Acute disease and death
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