Solidarity Share - Health Care Access

This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.

Oussama Zekri and Jay Kumar

Tataouine, Tunisia and Brooklyn, New York, USA

This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.

 My name is Jay Kumar, and I’m from Brooklyn, NY. In my community, access to quality healthcare in low-income areas is a challenge. Residents in low-income communities suffer from disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Often times, they cannot afford to eat healthy--high-calories junk food is cheaper than the fruits and vegetables essential for a healthy lifestyle. And, in many cases, they don’t know how they can take control of their health. The lack of preventative health care services compounds this further, leaving the disease and sickness to be treated after they’ve occurred, not before.

My name is Oussama Zekri, from Tunisia/North Africa. In Tataouine county/ Deep south of the country, access to healthcare is a challenge. My community is home to a large low-income population with little access to speciality care. The city’s infrastructure is not suited to provide green spaces to breathe and walk-in paths to exercise. And like low-income areas in Brooklyn NY, my people lacks decent education to fully grasp the basics of health prevention and chronic disease management while embracing a healthier lifestyle. Another major issue is the need for my people to commute hundreds of miles away to afford better diagnosis and efficient treatments. In many cases, cancer patients are forced to commute all the way up north for rounds of chemotherapy.

 

Like Brooklyn’s hospitals, Tataouine's hospitals are understaffed when it comes to primary care physicians. This constitutes a handicap on resident’s ability to access preventative services.  Consequently, Tataouine faces higher percentages of multi-chronic disease patients, as Brooklyn does. Despite our differences, lack of resources in low-income areas, coupled with the lack of health promotion and education, makes health a significant issue both in Brooklyn and Tataouine.

Our struggles are your struggles