On its 75th anniversary, the Philadelphia chapter of The Links Inc. has partnered with the Maternity Care Coalition and the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to provide vaccines and boosters, as well as health care resources. maternal and child health.
The health services event recently drew a line of people outside the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity in North Philadelphia.
“We have a line of people outside the door – some of them pregnant – who are suspicious of the effectiveness of the [COVID-19] vaccine and its safety,” said Marianne Fray of the Maternity Care Coalition (MCC). “And so to see people come out, wait to come in and get vaccinated is just incredibly rewarding. Because we at MCC believe that these vaccines can save lives, and we want them to disseminate accurate information.
Fray hopes the event will have an impact so that people receive proper care.
“We are extremely grateful to partner with the Back Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, and in particular to celebrate with the Links, which is an incredible organization with national impact, international impact and also cares about the things that are important to us, which makes sure that families are healthy, especially black families, and that we come together to make that happen,” she said.
Philadelphia Links focuses on health and social services.
“Because it’s our anniversary, we always have a day of service because the organization was founded on friendship and service,” said Gina Golson Nunery of Philadelphia Links. Margaret Rosell Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott founded the community service organization in 1946.
“Service has always been part of what we do,” Nunery said. “In order to really commemorate our 75th, we wanted to do something that had impact, that made sense, and also try to reach an underserved population.”
Statistics show that black Americans — especially black women — are vaccinated at a slower rate than other races.
“I don’t know of any other group or demographic other than black women, especially black women of childbearing age, who are or might be pregnant, who aren’t getting the health care resources they need,” Nunery said. “So we wanted to make sure that we focused on that community.”
Philadelphia ties are known to have strong community relationships and partners.
“We’ve had a partnership with the Black Doctors Consortium as well as the Maternity Care Coalition, and we’ve worked with them for years,” Nunery said. “So it was very easy to figure out what we wanted to do.”
A lot of misinformation has been spread in black communities, said former Philadelphia Links president Mahlene Duckett Lee. She hopes their efforts will dispel these falsehoods.
“We know there is a lack of information or misinformation,” Duckett Lee said. “And so what we’ve tried to do is listen to some of their concerns and try to present another side to them so they can consider this very important vaccine.”
“We’ve heard more and more stories of young mothers or mothers giving birth prematurely, some don’t survive and sometimes babies don’t survive,” Duckett Lee said. “So this is an effort to try to reach that population to let them know that there are people they can talk to, there are people they can actually get vaccinated with.”
Members of the three organizations volunteered to fulfill various roles such as registering people, creating care kits with essential baby products and disseminating information.
National President of The Links, Inc., Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, was on hand to personally support the effort as well as other anniversary events.
“It’s all about partnerships,” Nunery said. “So it’s a partnership with organizations. Often we can bring resources, or sometimes it’s also a matter of having access to different voices and different people who can help support an issue. So while we’re promoting, we’re supporting a lot of service work, we’re kind of like a connector because we’re really trying to connect with the community by getting the right resource from them.