Research conducted by California Latinas for Reproductive Justice shows that immigrant women feel their culture is creating a barrier to proper health care access.

This barrier adds to an already long list of disadvantages and obstacles to proper health care that this demographic faces.

According to the report (.pdf) on a survey of immigrant women:

  • Immigrants and Latinas/os with less formal education (a high school degree or less) were more likely to indicate that the cost of services and lack of insurance are “a large barrier” to accessing health services.
  • A high rate of Latina participants of reproductive age, 62 percent under age 30 and 55 percent between the ages of 30-39, also found the cost of services and lack of health insurance to be “large” barriers to obtaining health services.
  • In addition, nearly four in ten non-college, young Latina participants indicated lack of information also impedes them from obtaining needed services.
  • Nearly six in ten participants in the Fresno/Sacramento region and the San Francisco Bay Area stated that lack of insurance and cost of services were larger barriers compared to respondents in other parts of the state.
  • Nearly one quarter of Fresno/Sacramento area participants also indicated lack of information about services and services not being close by as “large” barriers.

The survey also shows that immigrant women are finding it harder to gain health care access than their male counterparts. Many feel that it “takes too long to schedule an appointment, services are not confidential, providers don’t treat [them] with respect, [there] is not enough information about the available services, and [many report] transportation problems.”

Interestingly, women in the survey also found that their culture has proved to be an additional barrier.

According to the report, many women felt that it provided a barrier when service providers did not speak their language. Many respondents also told the researchers that “service providers don’t understand my culture”:

In particular, female immigrant respondents stated service providers not understanding their culture is a larger barrier than providers not speaking their language (18% vs. 11%, respectively).

Authors report that this “finding is crucial for promoting and supporting delivery of culturally-relevant services.”

In Florida, the Lationa/o community represents 22.5 percent of the population, which is higher than the national average (16.3 percent). As legislators privatize, alter, and cut public health services, discussion of services for the Latina/o community has been minimal.

Just this year, a clinic that served mostly Hispanic seasonal farmworkers in Apopka lost half a million dollars from the state. According to research on that population, many were experienced health problems related to their work, and women comprised a large part of the workers.

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