RUTH OSHIKANLU MBE
Dr. Ruth is on a mission to enable women to raise happy babies, and children to achieve outcomes. A self-described ‘soul mama’ with an infectious smile.
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18 Oct 2020
Living on the frontline?
I am passionate about reducing health inequalities and inequities.
Previous roles included providing care for people with sickle cell disorder, HIV specialist midwifery, pregnant teenagers and parents; setting up and leading a nurse-led Young People’s Health and Wellbeing service focusing on sexual health, emotional health and well-being and substance abuse.
I chose to return to the frontline to support my colleagues during the COVID19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, within two weeks of working as a locus health visitor I came down with COVID19 and was unwell for six weeks.
It was a terrifying experience recuperating in bed watching many of my colleagues, many black and Asian lost their lives to the virus.
During lockdown I created VirtualMamahood™️ - an online platform for pregnant women and new mums where they could get expert advice and support and connect with other pregnant women and new mums and reduce maternal isolation.
I also created #CarersCafe - an online drop-in cafe for nurses, midwives and health visitors where they get the opportunity to discuss their anxieties around working through the pandemic with colleagues, find probable solutions and reduce professional isolation.
2020 is the ‘International Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ so I created ‘Nurses and Midwife Talk’ - a virtual platform where nurses and midwives can celebrate the difference they make to the communities they serve. To date, I have aired over 150 interviews which are released every evening at 6pm.
With the backing of funding from The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, I have recently developed a programme of psychological support that is culturally and spiritually sensitive to support black and Asian health and social care staff to heal from the traumatic experiences of working during the pandemic.
Why #BHM2020 rocks…
As part of my Churchill travel fellowship to study trauma-informed approaches to care. I spent February 2020 in the USA and got to celebrate #BHM there.
It was an invaluable experience as I did not realise how naive I was.
I learned so much about African American history including the structural inequalities and systemic racism that exists there.
On return to the UK, I could see the disproportionate deaths of black and Asian health and social care staff from COVID-19.
This simply highlighted the same structural inequities and systemic racism existed.
People of colour often have poorer health outcomes and staff from minority ethnic ground experience institutional racism.
The history of black people is often overlooked and not celebrated. History is taught to children in school often excludes the contribution of black people.
Black History Month provides an excellent opportunity for people to come together and learn lessons for the present and the future.
I wish that every day is Black History Day!
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