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Culture and Race
The rural agricultural communities made up of Latino migrant workers face many challenges when it comes to the provision of healthcare. The kind of healthcare provided in these regions is not comparable to that given in other parts of the country. The healthcare facilities are inadequate while the health insurance costs are too high for these residents. There are cultural and non-cultural conditions that further complicate the situation.
Uncertainty about the condition of the patient is one of the cultural reasons why there are high infant and maternal mortality rates among the Latinos as compared to White Americans. If a doctor is in such a situation, they put emphasis on the patient's condition based on their age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or race. This makes the healthcare givers to be biased.
Doctors and nurses may exhibit unconscious negative racial attitudes regardless of being reasonable and 'well-meaning' people. Where there is pressure due to inadequate time and the requirement of making decisions based on complex issues as is the case in many clinics, stereotyping may occur. Other issues of language barriers and genetically rooted conditions may lead to complications during delivery and prescriptions.
Aside from cultural factors, the Latinos enroll themselves in healthcare policies that have few resources for the patient. They cannot afford to purchase healthcare insurance where their employers do not offer to do so. The healthcare plans they are in, do not give them access to prenatal care nor cover them to deliver in their local clinics. The situation leads to them giving birth through mid-wives who to them are much more affordable.
In the communities where the Latinos live, it is unlikely to find qualified caregivers living there and having a consistent relationship with their patients. Therefore, the Latinos who can afford healthcare insurance do not usually end up getting the quality that their white counterparts receive. This situation does not improve where the minority patients and caregivers are from the same ethnic and racial background.
A few Latinos may end up refusing the doctor's prescription and recommended treatment owing to their belief that the medical system is unfair to them. Cases of real and perceived minority discrimination lead them to not trusting their doctors or nurses. The above leads to further complications in healthcare provision and contribute to the high maternal and infant mortality rates.
Interventions by the community health nurse to prevent infant and maternal mortality rates
One of the most common causes of the mother's death during childbirth is her poor state of health. This in turn affects the newborn in that, if a baby was born during such a period, they are more likely to die within a year after birth. This is not the case where the mother survived (Selin, 2009). The nurse ought to closely monitor the mother's health as well as what she is eating during the period before childbirth.
Statistics have it that close to ninety-nine percent of infant and mortality rates happen in areas where healthcare is not well-developed (M, Giri, & Serrano, 1995). Out of the ninety-nine percent, fifty percent of these happen where the woman delivers in the absence of a trained health personnel. The nurses should ensure that the delivery should take place in the clinic where complications can be well addressed and hopefully the lives of the mother and child be saved.
The community health nurse should ensure that she sufficiently teaches the mother and her family how to identify signs of danger during the pregnancy. The nurse should also advice the mother on the importance of antenatal care as well as the options of birthing that are available to her. In areas where healthcare insurance is hard to come by and the access to medical facilities is difficult, the nurses should help couples realize the importance of family planning.
The healthcare givers ought to ensure that they give postnatal care to both the mother and the baby, which is just as important as prenatal care. Some statistics claim that over seventy-five percent of child mortalities happen within the first week after delivery (Kessel, 1967). This kind of care strengthens the link between the caregivers and the community and leads to more people adopting healthier lifestyles.
The Latino migrant workers should be encouraged to implement simple and low cost methods of preventing deaths and diseases. The nurses should train them on keeping the baby warm and ensuring that it is dry at all times, the introduction of a breast milk diet to the baby as soon as possible, and diagnosing common newborn problems. These measures are affordable and prevent huge medical expenses.
The problem of high infant and maternal mortality rates among the Latinos can be resolved using the help of the following players:
The United States government should ensure that the healthcare plans should be of the same high quality regardless of the community. Marginalized communities should be able to have access to healthcare benefits just as easily as patients who have healthcare insurance. The current healthcare that is organized along socioeconomic lines only leads to worse cases of racism and an increase of infant and maternal mortality rates.
The government should make sure that the hospitals and clinics that are in the Latino neighborhoods have enough interpreters to eliminate the language barrier that in most cases prevents effective treatment. In addition, the healthcare givers should have knowledge on the cultures that they work with and this creates an understanding of the behavior patterns and leads to accurate assessment of patient needs.
The employers should ensure that all their workers have health insurance packages that guarantee them prenatal and antenatal healthcare benefits. Since the workers would rather earn more money as opposed to buying health insurance, the department of health should ensure that everyone working in the United States has a medical cover that guarantees payment of hospital bills.
The Latinos should push for better salaries from their employers as well as affordable healthcare from the government. Most of the deliveries that take place away from hospitals are because the families are too poor to be able to cater for the high medical expenses. The workers opt for the cheaper home deliveries and midwife methods, which result into high infant and maternal mortality rates (National Center for Health Statistics (U.S.), 2010).
The healthcare providers should expand their programs on patient education. Research has it that there are very affordable practices that go a long way in ensuring that the mother and the baby remain healthy before and after delivery. Teaching the patients how to access care, ask the right questions and contribute in the treatment decision will increase their chances of having a better understanding and use of available healthcare.
The community nurse can motivate involvement in anti-racist practices and the prevention of infant and maternal mortality in the community through other segments of population. The nurses should ensure that they treat the patients with regard to their conditions as opposed to their ethnicity, race or socio-cultural background. The nurses ought to have basic training in the language of their patients to enhance better understanding of their conditions.
The nurses should be involved in the progress of both prenatal and antenatal care of all their patients to detect and address complications that may arise and adequately address them. They should play an active role in advising the mothers on the kinds of foods that to eat, the conditions to live in during the pregnancy period and the basic care that they should give to their new born to ensure a healthy life.
The nurses should interact with the community and explain to the Latino workers the importance of healthcare and the affordable healthcare packages available for their families (Roberts & Magrab, 1999). Most of these migrant workers avoid the hospitals owing to prior racist attitudes of their caregivers, which the nurse reverses after showing concern and caring for them.
The infant and maternal mortality rates among the Latinos are largely because of the high cost of healthcare. The nurses together with other healthcare givers are in a better position to push for healthcare reforms from the government. These policies should make healthcare insurance to be affordable and accessible to all, regardless of their income. Healthcare packages that relate to women and children ought to be the greatest areas of interest.
Issues of health disparity may take time to resolve though the formation of industrial employer coalitions against such disparities is a step in the right direction. The employers as well as employees can be able to achieve success if they pool together and complained about the disparities. This would force the policy makers to make healthcare reforms and address issues of disparity in order to attend to the wishes of the people who hold them accountable.