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Angelina Jolie has spoken out about the difficulties her daughter Zahara faced during surgery because of her skin colour.
The Wanted actress adopted Zahara, now 16, as a baby from Ethiopia with ex-husband Brad Pitt, and believes she faced trouble during her recent medical treatment as medicine works off a ‘white reference point’.
As a result, she expressed concern about the lack of knowledge on how illnesses present themselves in non-white patients.
Speaking to Malone Mukwende for Time magazine, Jolie said: “Afterward a nurse told me to call them if her skin ‘turned pink’.
“I have children from different backgrounds, and I know when there was a rash that everybody got, it looked drastically different depending on their skin colour,” she added.
Angelina is speaking about the issue after being asked if her daughter's skin colour 'turned pink'
“But whenever I looked at medical charts, the reference point was always white skin.”
Mukwende, a medical student, agreed and said he had noticed the issue ‘very early on’ in his studies.
The disparity has led Mukwede to launch a new project to focus on this bias, as much of the data was based on studies of white patients.
He has now released a handbook called Mind The Gap in order to aid other medical students when it comes to looking after patients of different colours and racial backgrounds.
Angelina spoke out in a new interview with Time
He told her: “Almost the entirety of medicine is taught in that way. There’s a language and a culture that exists in the medical profession, because it’s been done for so many years and because we are still doing it so many years later it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem.”
Jolie is the mother to six children – three biological and three adopted.
Maddox, 19, was born in Cambodia and Pax, 17, is from Vietnam.
The UN ambassador’s brood is completed by Shiloh, 15, and 12-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
Angelina has six children – three of which with non-white skin tones and backgrounds.
(Image: Getty Images)
Since adopting her children, Jolie has become a United Nations ambassador, and is High Commissioner for Refugees.
She has recently been in Burkina Faso for World Refugee Day, during which she gave a speech declaring refugees “the people she admires most in the world”.
She said: “We have to wake up to the track we are on globally, with so many conflicts raging and the very real possibility that climate change will force tens if not hundreds of millions of people to have to leave their homes in the future, with no possibility of return.”
It’s been rumoured that she is currently reconnecting with her ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller, whom she was married to between 1996 and 1999.