The first-year medical student from Nigeria was amazed at the comments he received via Twitter when he posted the illustration online. “I just stood up for what I believe in, advocating for health equality through medical illustrations,” he said in an interview with NBC News.
From an American to study As of 2018, it appears that 4.5% of images in medical textbooks show black skin, compared to 74.5% with white skin.
The study warns that this could lead to medical treatment bias. For example, it may happen that a person with black skin is misdiagnosed because good pictures are missing.
Attention to Ibe’s illustration was also echoed by Malone Mukwende, a London medical student and co-author of the book Mind the Gap: A Clinical Manual of Signs and Symptoms of Black and Brown Skin.
This book shows the conditions that occur on black skin. This ideas for the book was also the result of the observation that few illustrations of black skin conditions could be seen in the medical world.
Mukwende has now invited Ibe to do illustrations for the second edition of the book. “His work is refreshing because it shows that there is a future where books are more representative. Better representation in healthcare is imperative.”
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