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Socioeconomic inequalities associated with mortality for COVID-19 in Colombia: a cohort nationwide study
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  • Published on:
    The importance of ethnicity and race variables in epidemiology and public health
    • Yoseth Ariza-Araújo, Professor of Department of Public Health and Community Medicine Universidad Icesi
    • Other Contributors:
      • Julio C Alonso-Cifuentes, Professor of School of Economics and Finance

    The authors, Cifuentes MP, Rodriguez-Villamizar LA, Rojas-Botero ML, et al [1], present an article that, owing to a lack of rigor in the creation and application of ethno-racial categories, ends up employing an analysis method that, although intended to allow proving inequalities, ends up disguising or attenuating them.

    Raj Bhopal published a seminal article in this journal in 2004 demonstrating the importance of ethnicity and race variables in epidemiology and public health. Bhopal pointed out that, at a minimum, researchers should explain their understanding of the concepts of race or ethnicity and the classification they use, even more so when we know that they need development in terms of geographic specificity, scope, and precision for different contexts [2]. Similar recommendations are made by Janeth Mosquera in her analysis about the use of the ethnic-racial category in the research published by the three most important scientific journals of Public Health in Colombia [3].

    The paper does not present a comprehensive and helpful description of the categories that assist the reader in understanding the ethnic-racial composition of the Colombian population and correctly analyze the regularly available data for public health surveillance. The Colombian surveillance system employs the census ethnic-racial categories. Among these Census categories, the "white-mestizo" used by the authors is not defined and thus is not used for public health surveill...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.