CLEVELAND — The COVID-19 pandemic has made hosting some community events challenging, but Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones says the pandemic has made it even more crucial to host a Health and Wellness Community checkup and the third annual Imani Women’s Day of Health in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood.
“This is not the moment that we stay inside ... for us who are striving to be the best leaders that we can be. This is not the time for us to go and hide and put a mask on, put our gloves on. But this is a moment that our people need us more than any other time," Jones says.
Multiple community resources were set up at the event. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank gave out food boxes while health organizations signed women up to receive free mammograms, conducted blood pressure, heart checks and COVID-19 checks.
Mecca East is the chief operating officer of the Salaam Clinic, a free clinic in Cleveland offering preventative care to residents. She says bringing services to their neighborhoods allows residents who are most at risk to be proactive about their health care.
“I know the importance of what preventative care actually means to women, especially African American women. We know that African Americans already have been consumed with a lot of major health disparities, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. So, COVID-19 has actually exasperated those different health conditions. So, it's vitally important as a community that we take preventative measures to stay healthy and to stay safe," East says.
Karen Butler of the Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services says while Cleveland is a major hub for health care having some of the nation's tops medical institutions, many people fall in between the cracks. Collaborative events such as this one ensures no one gets left out.
“We’re here to serve them. We are here to hear them. We're here to listen to their needs and concerns. We're here to say, hey, you don't have to go this alone. You don't have to go without health care. You don't have to put off the needs of yourself and your family members because we have organizations right within your communities, right within your neighborhood who are here," Butler says.