Health Education and the Immigrant Haitian Mother: Cultural Insights for Community Health Nurses

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Abstract

Abstract Lack of information about health education from the perspective of immigrants was the basis of a descriptive survey of 30 Haitian mothers in southeast Florida. Subjects were interviewed regarding the value of health education received while seeking preventive health care for infants and preschool children in community health settings, their access to other sources of health education, and their perceptions of what community health care providers could do to assist them in improving child health. Ninety-seven percent took children for well-child care to medical facilities, and 66% received health education during the visits. Seventy percent had access to health-education programs through clinics or the media. Impediments to effective health education were lack of providers who speak Haitian Creole, need for more nurses, and long clinic waiting periods. Nurses were considered the best persons to do health teaching; radio and clinic lectures were the preferred media. Teaching was valuable if it was understandable and practical, reinforced parenting abilities, and allowed time for questions. Results are related to socioeconomic and political factors, traditional Haitian health culture, and cultural views of the cognitive development in children. Culture-specific strategies related to the modes and foci of health education are discussed.

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