Facebook Blogging

Edward Hugh has a lively and enjoyable Facebook community where he publishes frequent breaking news economics links and short updates. If you would like to receive these updates on a regular basis and join the debate please invite Edward as a friend by clicking the Facebook link at the top of the right sidebar.

Friday, February 28, 2003

The Language of Health

My regular readers will know I have one strongly held belief: immigration is god's greatest gift to mankind. The economic benefits are just enormous, and all western societies went full speed ahead forward during the ninetees on the backs of other peoples children, human capital produced in far away lands by unknown and anonymous parents. But with all this wealth comes responsibility. This article from the Chicago Sun Times highlights just one area where these responsibilities are not being faced up to: the health needs of our new fellow citizens. Actually, a moment or two of thought about network theory, globalisation and health should lead us to see that this is in our own interests too. Absue of antibiotics on a massive scale, and an ever smaller 'small world', means that we have ever more virulent variants going round the circuits ever more rapidly. If we don't look to fix this we'll live to regret it: or maybe not.

Hispanics who speak little or no English are coping with a health care system that frequently fails to communicate with them in Spanish, a survey released Thursday concluded.The language barrier is having a devastating effect on those Hispanics--mostly newly arrived immigrants--by discouraging them from seeking medical care, said the survey's authors.

Only 1 percent reported getting assistance from a trained medical interpreter. Most relied on family and friends, the survey found.

The survey also found that almost one in three Hispanics who do not speak English well reported their health was fair or poor, twice the rate of whites, blacks and English-speaking Hispanics. And 33 percent rely on community or public clinics for their health care, compared with 12 percent of English-speaking Hispanics, 10 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites.Almost 6 million Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 64 reported speaking English ''not well'' or ''not at all,'' according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. ''Hispanics are more likely than any other group in the U.S. to be uninsured and to have difficulty obtaining access to health care--and this problem is made worse by language barriers,'' said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, which conducted the survey.
Source: Chicago Sun Times

No comments: