‘Disappointed’ mum couldn’t find hand, foot and mouth disease rash on black skin on the NHS website

A mum has slammed the NHS website for its lack of diversity after she tried to search for hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms, but could not find any shown on black skin.

Tinuke Awe, from South London, was told by her son’s nursery there had been an outbreak of the disease.

In an email, the school linked her the NHS website to help her and other parents spot symptoms.

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However, the worried 30-year-old was disappointed to see there were no examples of what the disease looks like on black skin.

Speaking to MyLondon, she said: “I went on to the website and I literally found no images of hand foot and mouth on black and brown skin – I’m very disappointed.

“I raised it on the platform (Twitter) because I was so disappointed, and I’m like, hold on isn’t the NHS meant to be inclusive?

She was disappointed at the lack of diversity on the NHS website

“I just think if we’re supposed be using trusted website such as the NHS and it’s not even inclusive, millions of people are not being catered to.

“Even things like meningitis or skin rashes and you don’t know what you’re looking for it can get really serious.

“How difficult can it be to add a picture on your website of what things look like on a black baby?

She tweeted about the lack of black skin on the hand, foot and mouth disease section

She tweeted about the lack of black skin on the hand, foot and mouth disease section

The mum-of-two, who has a four-year-old and an 18-month-old daughter, is also a campaigner for disparities faced by black and brown women related to pregnancies.

In her spare time she runs a blog called Mums and Tea, which allows mums to discuss parenting, especially within the black and ethnic minority communities.

When discussing issues related to being a black mother, she said she finds black women have to do far more research to get basic information.

“Because I am black I have to do my own research and find out what certain diseases look like on black skin, time and time again we have to do stuff for ourselves.

“If I was white I could easily go on the NHS and look and see what hand foot and mouth looks like.”

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An NHS Digital spokesperson said: “We recognise the importance of content on the NHS website being inclusive, both from a clinical safety perspective and in addressing health inequalities.

“We are working to update relevant content across the website to reflect a variety of skin tones and so far we have updated over 20 topics with more inclusive descriptions and images, including the topic rashes in babies and children, which has received over half a million visits since the start of 2021.

“We have also developed guidance for content designers on how to make content about skin symptoms more inclusive.”

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