Life outside of the African continent may seem glamorous to some but a new report is putting numbers to the struggles many Diasporans face. A recent report found that an average of 120 Ghanaians living in the Greater London area died each year within the last three years. The primary cause: heart disease.
The report found that 75 percent of those who died annually died from heart-related diseases such as cardiomegaly, heart failure, heart arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction and aspiration pneumonia among others. These heart diseases were mostly triggered by stress.
Below, we list 5 of the most common issues facing African immigrants abroad. It is clear that all the glitters, including tales of exuberant abroad riches, isn’t gold.
Disease is on the rise in the African immigrant population abroad.
A recent study found that in the U.S., this problem within the African immigrant population had been masked because African immigrants were often lumped together with U.S.-born African Americans.
When the groups were separated, however, it was clear that there was prevalence of developing chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension in African immigrant populations. Worst, because many immigrants didn’t seek or know how to seek care.
Across the world, violence in African communities outside of the continent is not uncommon. But a recent trend in particularly concerning. A total of 50 black people, mostly young, are reported to have been stabbed or gunned down in London since January 2018.
This includes nine Nigerian youth killed in London and other parts of the UK.
The recent spike in violence in the British capital has raised concerns to the extent that Nigeria’s government has warned Nigerians living in London to be careful and to show restraint.
The killing of black people, especially those of Nigerian origin in London, was “worrisome and disturbing”, said Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the senior special assistant to Mr Buhari on foreign affairs and the diaspora.
African immigrants aboard are unfortunately not immune to the trappings of life – drugs, gun violence, etc. – in their host country.
African immigrants around the world face tremendous odds as they combat racism, and in extreme cases, xenophobia.
Recent videos surfacing online show that perceived rise in large-scale violent offences committed by young people of African appearance, most of whom have been linked to Melbourne’s Sudanese migrant community in Australia, has catalyzed racial tension, prejudice and xenophobia.
In one disturbing video that went viral online, an Ethiopian-born man, Habib Gudato Tonnu, who was speaking to a T.V. station about recent racial tension in Australia was heckled by a white passerby who remarked, “lock ’em all up”.
Reports show that a common stress for many African immigrants is that their education doesn’t translate to commensurate careers abroad. This means that many take jobs with a lot of hard physical work such as taxi driving, cleaning, and security. This has led to a prevalence of joint and back pain in the African immigrant community.
Coupled with immigration and financial issues, along side demands from home for remittances, African immigrants abroad are deeply stressed.
Distance away from home
Last year, six Ghanaians died in their rooms in London and no one noticed.
The journey abroad can be lonely, many leaving their families and communities to brace the unknowns in other lands. Issues of loneliness and lack of the extended family and familiar community that many Africans are used to compounds the issues around stress, disease, and violence listed above.
What did we miss? What are some common issues you face abroad you wish Africans wishing to immigrate there knew?