Company unites patients with black healthcare professionals – 10/16/2020

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The constant racism processes that different health professionals and black patients go through gave rise to Afrosaúde, a platform with profiles of black doctors, psychologists, dentists and therapists. The presence of black or brown people in health is still small, which makes it difficult to find them. “On the one hand, professionals needed more visibility and on the other, patients, in general, blacks, wanted more humanized care. It was something of supply and demand”, says the founding partner of the company Arthur Lima, 28 years old.

The idea came up in July 2019 and the formalization took place four months later. Arthur points out that black people have specific health problems, in addition to special demands for skin and mental health problems. Afrosaúde is today a micro-company that launched a prototype of the platform in which there are profiles of 300 professionals, with photo, performance area and professional description. Searches are done by responsive mobile web app. “We are registering these professionals on the platform and improving the technology that is gradually gaining more features”, he says.

Technological improvements will enable payment to be made directly through the platform, remunerating the company. “We will have a benefits club where patients pay per month and have access to a professional with more affordable value,” says Lima. One of the proposals is that the professional’s role is exalted. “Unlike what happens with health plans, we want to contribute to people’s income and put them on the radar, without questioning behind,” he says.

The company also intends to have an educational arm to train professionals with health guidelines for the black population. “There is a deficiency in training on issues such as gender, race, LGBTQIA +. When the professional is black, he seeks on his own to be more sensitive, but health is very Eurocentric”, he says.

Arthur is a dentist by training and says he did not have a discipline in college related to issues of race. “I made a post on a social network stating that the darker pigmentation of the gums is not ugly or unhygienic, but rather a reproduction of racism and this has gone viral for many people not knowing this data”, he says. In addition to information for professionals, having specialized care will ensure, according to him, that black people have their needs met. “We are going to contribute to a less racist health, making people seek treatment, since many blacks stop going to the doctor for fear of not having their issues understood or of suffering racism”, he points out.

Afrosaúde underwent an idea validation survey that listened to patients and professionals and today seeks investors. Arthur says he is unaware of other companies that do similar work in Brazil or the United States and points out that in Nigeria there are startups that offer technological solutions similar to the work that his company does. “Here, when I present Afrosaúde there is questioning whether it is not a product that segregates. It is important to emphasize the concept of equity and that racial democracy does not exist”, he says. Today, the company competes to participate in accelerations to earn investments. “We want to grow and invest without depending only on the money we have”, he dreams.

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Ítala Herta, co-founder of Vale do Dendê

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The stories and people presented to you every day by Ecoa appear in a process that is not limited to traditional journalistic practice. In addition to meetings with specialists in areas that are fundamental to understanding our time, reporters and editors have a daily exchange of inspiration with a very special group of professionals, all of whom have an impact on the social field and who form our Curatorship. This report, for example, was born from a connection proposed by Ítala Herta, curator of the Re_construction cycle.

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