Unveiling the urgency: tackling the intersectional lens of health inequalities and EDI collectively

I am writing to emphasise the urgent need for our profession to pick up momentum in tackling Health Inequalities and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), hand in hand. As a pharmacist committed to advancing our profession and addressing disparities, I am compelled to highlight the urgency of these interconnected issues and associated intersectional lens. Our profession is ideally placed to address disparities and highlight socioeconomic, geographical and sustainability factors’ impact on both the workforce and communities served.

There is concern that the significance of these issues has become a talking factor post-pandemic, with decreased actions and funding. We cannot afford to backtrack efforts. We must redouble our commitment to building an inclusive, sustainable, and robust pharmacy service & workforce.

As Professor Sir Michael Marmot’s recent report suggests, the decline in socioeconomic and geographical disparities continues to worsen, as do the barriers to access and outcomes. The rising and unmanageable costs of prescriptions, coupled with increased challenges faced by underserved communities, emphasise the urgency for action. Our profession’s accessibility and expertise can support lobbying to ‘narrow the gap’.

Another overlooked intersection is the profound implications of climate change, which the World Health Organisation rightly identified as the single biggest health threat facing humanity. We must recognise professional responsibility in addressing sustainable practices and actions greater than inhaler switches are required. The scope is expansive; from minimising air pollution via medical gas governance, to holistic approaches, we require active upskilling and engagement.

Furthermore, the Pharmacy Workforce Race Equality Standard (PWRES) data highlights the need for concerted efforts, not just discussions and recognition that the need to reflect the populations we serve is vital.

Additionally, using innovative solutions when addressing population health gaps requires greater efforts. A prime example is language literacy accessibility. Implementing systems such as Written Medicine is needed, and it is a clear example of a transformational beacon of hope.

To truly address and mitigate the impacts an intersectional lens brings, it is essential for collaboration, leveraging our expertise and lobbying policy changes to achieve tangible actions. A united voice will support the development of equity, inclusivity, and sustainability.

I urge pharmacy professionals to recognise our critical role in addressing these interconnected challenges and prioritise our efforts.

Aiysha Raoof

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.313541

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