Kanlungan conducts survey on impact of Covid-19 on BAME healthcare workers*

A survey led by Filipino organisation Kanlungan Filipino Consortium (Kanlungan), in collaboration with the UBELE Initiative, was conducted to identify ways to support Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities that are affected by Covid-19.

The online survey, which took place between August and October, hopes to look into the challenges that healthcare workers from BAME communities are facing and to recognise whether non-white communities have experienced discrimination and have been less prioritised in the workplace amid the pandemic. The survey also aims to identify ways to shape policy changes to improve safety of frontline workers in any future pandemic.

According to Francesca Humi, Kanlungan was motivated to conduct the survey as data and stories they gathered during the start of the pandemic show that front liners from the BAME communities are much more impacted by the virus. Humi is project development officer for Kanlungan.

“Following the Covid-19 outbreak, we started hearing stories from the frontline of our kababayans being disproportionately impacted by the virus. We heard through our network and partners that many were getting sick and some dying as a result. A few months into the pandemic, we started seeing data released, which confirmed the disproportionate infection and death rate amongst Filipino and other Black, Asian, and minority ethnic workers,” she said.

This research and the amplification of voices from the frontlines is especially important as the second Covid-19 wave is upon us and these tragedies are bound to be repeated without adequate action being taken.

Francesca Humi, Kanlungan Filipino Consortium

Figures revealed that of all Covid-19 deaths in the NHS, 20% are Filipinos – the highest Covid-19 death toll amongst staff. This alarmed Kanlungan which encouraged them to research more and acquire first-hand data on the matter.

“Kanlungan conducted this survey to acquire data and first-hand accounts of healthcare workers’ experiences. This data will give evidence to support the informal knowledge being circulated on this issue, raise awareness on what is happening, and hopefully help us campaign against racism and discrimination in the healthcare sector,” she added.

Focus group discussions and personal interviews were also organised by Kanlungan along with the online survey. As of now, the organisation was able to collect 40 responses and is still aiming to gather more as they are planning to publish a report by the end of the year.

Humi is encouraging Filipino healthcare workers to participate and share their stories as this would help them better identify ways to help the sector. “This research and the amplification of voices from the frontlines is especially important as the second Covid-19 wave is upon us and these tragedies are bound to be repeated without adequate action being taken,” she stated.

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(*Updated 0n 31 October. Filipino Unite and PNA UK are not part of the survey.)