The new medical student from Nigeria was astonished by 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.
A 2018 US study found that 4.5 percent of images in medical textbooks show black skin, compared to 74.5 percent for white skin.
The study warns that this may bias medical treatment. For example, a misdiagnosis of a person with black skin can occur, because good images are missing.
Ibe’s illustration has also been taken care of by Malone Mukwende, a medical student in London and co-author of the book Mind the Gap: A clinical guide to signs and symptoms in black and brown skin.
This book explains cases that occur on black skin. The idea for the book also arose from the observation that few illustrations of diseases can be seen on black skin in the medical world.
Mukwende now invited Ibe to make 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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