Our Blog

Advice to help you live your healthiest life, covering fitness, nutrition, mental health, self-care and much more.

Celebrate African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia

Every February, Nova Scotia celebrates African Heritage Month. This month provides an opportunity to honour the culture, legacy, achievements and contributions of African Nova Scotian communities.  

The 2024 African Heritage Month theme, “Our Smiles, Our Joy, Our Resilience as African Nova Scotians,” highlights the spirit of perseverance that people of African descent have demonstrated over the centuries in our province.  

In recent decades, African-Canadian contributions have been acknowledged informally, however Nova Scotia has set a path for Canada’s recognition of African Heritage Month. Our province has been a leader in recognizing and promoting African heritage in Canada – dating back almost 30 years to the launch of the first Black History Month at the North Branch Library in Halifax’s North End in 1985. Black History Month was first celebrated province-wide in 1988 and renamed African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia in 1996.  

Why does it matter to Doctors Nova Scotia? 

Anti-Black racism continues to drive health inequities in Canada. This type of racism, rooted in an unjust distribution of power, resources and opportunities that discriminates against Black communities, continues to fuel poor health outcomes for racialized Canadians. 

Conversations to inform the Government of Nova Scotia’s Health Equity Framework revealed: 

  • Black people experience overt and subtle racism in many ways, as both patients and providers  
  • Black patients are dismissed, ignored, passed over in triage, misdiagnosed  
  • intergenerational trauma leads many to not seek care  
  • inadequate Black representation in the health-care system, especially in senior leadership, is slowing down work to combat anti-Black racism  
  • community-based supports for African Nova Scotian communities, especially related to mental health, are not readily available  

If we are to ensure that everyone in Nova Scotia receives the health care they deserve, we must examine our internal biases, educate ourselves and our colleagues, support Black physician communities, and work to eliminate systemic racism, including anti-Black racism, in our health-care system. Those goals guide the association as it continues its work to support equity, diversity and inclusion in Nova Scotia’s health-care system. 

Find out more about Nova Scotia African Heritage Month and events taking place across the province 

Want more information on healthy living and health-care delivery sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of our content first!