The Maternal and Child Healthcare Needs of New Immigrants in Taipei

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Abstract

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the maternal and child healthcare needs of new immigrants in Taiwan. Results will be used to reflect upon the services which the government is currently providing, and to determine if further investigation may be required to establish whether or not the health care quality currently provided by public health nurses succeeds in meeting the needs of new immigrants. Face-to-face interviews were undertaken by public health nurses on 1,068 women from Mainland China, and a further 1,068 women from other Southeast Asian countries, all of whom were randomly selected from the 12 administrative districts of Taipei. Information on the healthcare information needs of mothers and children (10 items), psychological distress variables, health status and socio-demographic variables of both the new immigrants and their Taiwanese spouses were collected via a structured questionnaire, of which a total of 1,829 completed copies were returned. Chi-square tests were performed to examine differences in both healthcare needs and psychological distress levels amongst different new immigrant ethnic groups. Logistic regressions were subsequently performed with the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) then being calculated to examine the differential effects of the healthcare needs of the different ethnic groups of new immigrants. The needs of the Vietnamese immigrants were found to be significantly different from those of the Mainland Chinese immigrants in all items, with the former needing Chinese communication assistance particularly at those times when they received medical treatment (p < .001) and assistance from local health centers (p < .001). Amongst the group of new Indonesian immigrants, the need for Chinese communication assistance when receiving medical treatment (p < .001) was the only item significantly different from the group of Mainland Chinese immigrants. Cultural competence in public health nursing education should not be deemphasized in Taiwan. Within the public sector, there is a clear need to create and implement partnerships between the public and private sectors on the overall issue of new immigrants within the community. Results strongly suggest that public health nurses should be aware of how to meet the healthcare needs of different new immigrant ethnic groups in order to help them integrate into Taipei society.

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