The Front Lines of Health Inequities:

A Conversation with Dr. Megan Huchko and Dr. Diana Silimperi

DS:

“There is already this enormous backdrop of inequities in terms of access to health, healthcare and health practices that was largely but not exclusively based on income, on wealth disparities…”

MH:

“For many people in this country, looking at the soaring unemployment rate has illustrated how many people don’t have the ‘luxury’ of staying at home that many of us are complaining about.”

DS:

“These are effects that are going to continue, whether you’re talking about nutrition or a lack of learning … these are going to continue beyond the pandemic, we don’t simply wake up and make up for those loses that are occurring now over a period of time.”

MH:

“We want to make sure that women aren’t afraid to come into the hospital or to get their antenatal care because they’re afraid of COVID. So I think one of the best things we’ve done is create an educational pamphlet for women visiting our clinics whether they’re pregnant or not pregnant: what to expect when they come in, what safety precautions we’ve taken, and what women can do to protect themselves. Then over the next few weeks, we’ll be starting to open the clinic to get women in for the non-urgent but important visits like preventative care and the screenings and physical exams.”

DS:

“I think linked with the infectious pandemic, if you will, is a second pandemic that’s already happening, … that is the mental health pandemic … both women potentially in postpartum depressions, not necessarily being able to access care but also in the context of domestic violence and the stressors that come with the loss of income, family structure changes.”

DS:

“Globally, the hardest hit is the informal sector. Informal sector supplies the well being and income for probably the majority of people in middle income countries. And yet that sector is totally being decimated by some of the broader political decisions- some of them based on evidence….when you restrict borders and movement obviously it effects informal sector.”

MH:

“We’ve seen local leaders who have the capacity to understand or the willingness to learn some of the public health practices… centuries old of basic public health.”

MH:

“Medically they do not think that COVID is more severe for pregnant women. We do not think that there is perinatal transmission and we are in a field of changing information, but those two things have stayed pretty consistent”

DS:

“On a macro level: there is global scientific collaboration more than I have ever seen in my 30+ years of practicing … It won’t happen in one week, but still i have a lot of confidence and the degree and width of the collaboration is really impressive.”

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