Migrant and Refugee Women's Health
- Negative consequences of racism reflected in one's health - WHW Dec 2006
- Giving Birth between two worlds - Goan women in NZ - WHU Apr 2003
- Obstetric intervention rates and ethnicity - WHW Sept 2002
- Refugee resource - WHU Jan 2002
- New to New Zealand: the experiences of new immigrant women - WHW Dec 1997
- Understanding Female Genital Mutilation - WHU July 1997
December 2006 Women's Health Watch
This New Zealand study finds that self-reported experience of discrimination is strongly associated with various measures of poor health, independent of socioeconomic status. This study used data from the 2002/2003 New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) which included a series of questions on people's experiences of racial discrimination. Responses were compared with five health indicators (self-related health, physical functioning, mental health, current smoking and self-reported cardiovascular disease). There were five questions about racial discrimination covering personal experience of ethnically motivated physical or verbal attack; and unfair treatment because of ethnicity by a health professional, in work, or when gaining housing. These comparisons found that reported experience of racial discrimination is associated with poorer health and with current smoking.
Respondents who report experiencing three or more types of discrimination are up to three times more likely to report adverse health outcomes than those who do not report any discrimination. The study concludes that racism is a major determinate of health and a driver of health inequalities: 'as such policies designed to address racism should be included in the strategies adopted by governments to eliminate ethnic inequalities in health. This needs to involve both the health sector and wider society.'
Harris, R et al (2006) Racism and health: the relationship between experience of racial discrimination and health in New Zealand. Social Science & Medicine 63:1428-41.
April 2003 Women's Health Update
Ruth De Souza recently completed a masters degree on migration, mental health and motherhood. Ruth, born in East Africa of Goan Indian origin, works in NZ as a mental health nurse and nursing educator. Camille Guy asked her about the research and the birthing experiences of recently immigrated Goan women
It is hard for those of us born in this country to comprehend how disorienting it must be to be both a new immigrant and to be giving birth, perhaps for the first time, in a new country.
Such women bring to the experience of pregnancy and delivery memories of the way it happened in their homeland. But at this period of extreme vulnerability they must reconcile comforting homeland rituals with new and unfamiliar practices. Which voices of authority to trust?
While working in maternal mental health and in post-natal wards in Auckland, Ruth De Souza became curious about why mental health services are under-utilised by migrant women. White, articulate and affluent women certainly used them. So how were migrant women, deprived of their traditional safety nets, coping?
De Souza conducted in depth interviews with seven Goan women about their migration history, their adjustment to living in New Zealand and experiences of childbirth and motherhood here.... Read More
September 2002 Women's Health Watch
Maori and Pacific women who gave birth at National Women's Hospital in Auckland from 1992 to 1999 had much lower rates of induction, prelabour caesarean section and operative vaginal delivery than other women, according to hospital researchers.
This supports a 1999 Ministry of Health report that showed a relationship between lower rates of obstetric procedures and Maori or Pacific ethnicity.
However, caesarean delivery rates for Maori and Pacific women at National Women's did not differ in total from those of other women. The lower rate of prelabour caesareans for Maori and Pacific women was offset by higher rates of emergency caesarean.
A hospital research team studied more than 43,000 first births of single children at the hospital, which were not preceded by previous caesarean section. Ten percent of mothers were Maori and 19% Pacific.
They controlled for factors including first or subsequent birth; maternal age, smoking; public or private patients; caregiver; hypertension; diabetes and preterm births. They were unable to control for maternal weight or the time of epidural analgesia. They concluded that lower rates of epidural analgesia for Maori and Pacific women may partly explain the lower rate of operative vaginal delivery.
Ref: NZMJ 2002; 115:36-9
January 2002 Women's Health Watch
Annette Mortensen, Refugee Health Coordinator for Auckland District Health Board, outlines the health needs of the new arrivals.
Last month, after a much publicised journey, Afghani women off the Tampa arrived in Auckland. They were among the tens of thousands of women in Afghanistan who effectively remain prisoners in their homes under Taleban edicts.
There are over 40 million refugees and displaced peoples worldwide of whom two-thirds are women and girls. Less than one per cent of the world's refugees reach the safety of a country of asylum.
New Zealand is one of only nine resettlement countries. We accept an annual quota of 750 refugees and about the same number of asylum seekers are granted refugee status annually. These refugees have the status of New Zealand residents and are eligible for all publicly funded health and disability services. So are asylum-seekers who are in the process of applying for refugee status. The selection of quota refugees is targeted at those in greatest need of resettlement, with particular attention to emergency cases, medical/disabled cases and women-at-risk.... Read More
December 1997 Women's Health Watch
Different use of health professionals, a preference for female health care providers, and the need for education about New Zealand health care services were some of the common themes that emerged at Women's Health Action's seminar on 'New Immigrant Women: Cultural Perspectives', held in early November 1997.
The seminar was organised after practice nurses and other providers reported their uncertainty and reticence in providing services for women from immigrant groups whose cultures differ from mainstream New Zealand. Women from many of the new immigrant groups are unused to the kind of more equal relationships with providers that New Zealand women have fought to achieve.... Read More
July 1997 Women's Health Update
With the increasing number of North East Africans settling in New Zealand, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been introduced into our public health services. Nikki Denholm, FGM Project Co-ordinator at National Women's Hospital, discusses the implications for primary health care workers.
Primary health care workers are often the front line professionals dealing with genitally mutilated women and need to be aware not only of the clinical effects and complications of FGM, but also how to provide sensitive and effective care.
FGM is the collective term for a number of procedures involving cutting or removal of the female genitalia. The procedures vary from removal of the prepuce of the clitoris, to removal of the clitoris and labia minora, to infibulation removal of the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora.
Sexual health screening and health promotion are important areas for primary health care workers to focus on. Most of the women affected by FGM in New Zealand are refugees and have been on the run or living in camps for the last six years and have had little or no health screening or health education. A.recent survey with 81 genitally mutilated women over 16-years-old in Auckland identified that only 6% had received a breast check and only 31% had received a cervical smear.... Read More
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