‘I didn’t know anyone else who had abnormal cervical cells’

World Cancer Day raises awareness of cancer detection, treatment and prevention. During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2020, which took place in January, reports indicated the target for women aged 25-49 who attended screening in England is around 10% lower than the government’s 80% target.

Public Health England (PHE) launched the first ever national cervical screening campaign, ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’, in March 2019 after the number of women attending screening reached a 20-year low. The campaign focussed on eligible women under age 35, south Asian, black, and lesbian, bisexual women and those from poor backgrounds.

While cervical screening is not test for cancer, it helps prevent cancer by detecting the health of the cervix – the opening to the womb from the vagina; but there is still a mixture of fear and nonchalance towards the test, which became an NHS screening programme in 1988.

I spoke to Isha Webber, 30, from Woolwich in South London about her experience of  finding abnormal cells in her cervix and how it turned her into a gynaecological advocate, while studying for a family law qualification.

My first cervical screening test came back normal, so I was fine with the process…
I didn’t get a reminder letter but was at my doctors in June 2018 for a check-up because I was on antidepressants. While taking my blood pressure the nurse said, “Oh, the system says you’re due for a cervical screening test”, so I booked one for July.

Continue reading ‘I didn’t know anyone else who had abnormal cervical cells’

Young people highlight urgency of organ donation among London’s Black community

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is funding ethnic minority community projects in an urgent bid to raise awareness about organ donation.

‘Organ Donation: A Conversation Young Black People NEED to Have’ taking place on May 18th is one of many NHSBT-funded events across the country to dispel myths around organ donation among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Continue reading Young people highlight urgency of organ donation among London’s Black community

Organisations in England given funding to encourage organ donation in the Black Community

Organisations in Londonand Manchester received funding from the Community Investment Scheme to increase organ donation among ethnic minority communities.

The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), One World Foundation, Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN) Greater Manchester and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust’s Kidney Patients Association are launching projects that will run until the summer. All applied for a share of the £140,000 funding pot of this Government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant and supported by the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA).

Representatives from organisations involved in the
Community Investment Scheme
Credit: NHSBT

Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “If you are black or Asian, you will wait on average half a year longer for a matching donor than if you are white. Those six months could be a matter of life or death. We must address this by empowering communities to own the conversation around organ donation. Giving the gift of an organ is a deeply personal decision and I hope that the projects funded through this scheme will help people to make an informed choice.”

Continue reading Organisations in England given funding to encourage organ donation in the Black Community

#SmearForSmear selfie campaign for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

It’s cervical cancer prevention week and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is raising awareness with the #SmearForSmear 2019 campaign. To get involved all you have to do is post a #SmearForSmear selfie smearing your lipstick. I know it’s a beauty fax pas you would never dream of doing intentionally, but your selfie with tip or word of support encouraging women to go for cervical screening (also known as a smear test), could actually save a life!

Credit: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Cervical screening is free but is not a test for cancer. It identifies cell changes (abnormalities) on your cervix (the entrance to the womb) caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). These abnormal cells can be removed, helping to prevent cancer. For those old enough to remember, Big Brother / reality TV star Jade Goody sadly died from cervical cancer 10 years ago on 22 March 2009, aged 27. Her death coined the term, the ‘Jade Goody effect’ when screening rates increased following her death. According to reports, the number of  women aged 25 to 49 in England who went for screening  increased from 69.3% in March 2008 to 72.5% in March 2009.

Flash forward a few years and NHS Digital say the number of eligible women (aged 25-64) going for cervical screening in England has fallen for the fourth year running. Public Health England (PHE) also say that women from ethnic minority groups and women between ages 25-29 are ‘frequent non-attenders’ of screening; but you can help change all this.

It’s not always easy finding complimentary lipstick shades for darker skin tones, but over the past couple of years ranges have expanded.

Continue reading #SmearForSmear selfie campaign for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Will Danny Rose’s Depression Admission Impact Mental Health Care for Black People?

When English footballer Danny Rose revealed his depression battle, his bravery was celebrated by everyone, from the NHS to Prince William. In recent years, there has been a growing number of prominent black voices sharing their mental health struggles, which is no doubt a good thing. However, the experiences of everyday black people within the mental health system are quite the opposite, as research has shown.

Like many who suffer with mental health challenges, Rose stated that there was no singular cause of his depression. Dealing with long term football injuries, his uncle committing suicide, his mother suffering racial abuse and someone attempting to shoot his brother at their home, all contributed to his depression.

Continue reading Will Danny Rose’s Depression Admission Impact Mental Health Care for Black People?

You must be #mental

The beauty of YouTube is that anyone can stumble across the funniest videos, whether old or new. Unlike the man with the red tie (in the video below), I didn’t have to suppress my laughter when I saw this. We all know that social media can create stars / one hit wonders; love it or hate it you can’t knock the hustle!

For those who have made money from YouTube videos (more power to ya), including Alika singing below, who got a modelling gig with JD Sports off the back of this video, singing on the London Underground!

Another beauty of YouTube is there are always links to related videos, some of which are not funny at all. If I had seen this video (below) first, I wouldn’t have found the one above funny at all! It made me rethink.  


Apparently, 25% of people in the UK are affected by mental illness. According to the Mental Health Foundation, people from black and ethnic minorities in the UK are more likely to:

Be diagnosed with mental health problems

Be diagnosed and admitted to hospital

Experience a poor outcome from treatment

Disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health

There are various reasons for this, despite the prevalence of mental illness in black and ethnic communities it’s still a taboo subject. People from ethnic minorities are reluctant to seek help from mental health services, which have been criticised for not understanding particular cultural needs of non-white patients. The link between poverty and mental health is also something that cannot be ignored.

Alika Samuel Timothy Agidi-Jeffs | London, United Kingdom | Actor, Model, Musician
Alika: Model Man – who knows what goes on in ones head? http://www.starnow.co.uk/Infecta

Mental health issues are real; I’m sure many of us know someone young, old, tall, short, skinny, fat, that has or is suffering from a mental illness. Like most illnesses those of the mind don’t discriminate either; anyone can be affected. The more these issues are discussed among families / communities, the easier it will be for those affected not to suffer in silence.

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” 

Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor)

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Ad+s Diaspora

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 Featured image: namipasco.org

Baby hats in Tanzania

 “We spent around 4 hours trying to resuscitate a baby who had pneumonia and fluid on the lungs. We hooked the baby up to oxygen but were under pressure to turn off the oxygen because the hospital couldn’t afford to keep running the electricity generator”.

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