Access to health care for undocumented migrant children and pregnant women confronts human rights and professional values with political and institutional regulations that limit services. In order to understand how health care professionals deal with these diverging mandates, we assessed their attitudes toward providing care to this population. Clinicians, administrators, and support staff (n = 1,048) in hospitals and primary care centers of a large multiethnic city responded to an online survey about attitudes toward access to health care services. Analysis examined the role of personal and institutional correlates of these attitudes. Foreign-born respondents and those in primary care centers were more likely to assess the present access to care as a serious problem, and to endorse broad or full access to services, primarily based on human rights reasons. Clinicians were more likely than support staff to endorse full or broad access to health care services. Respondents who approved of restricted or no access also endorsed health as a basic human right (61.1%) and child development as a priority (68.6%). A wide gap separates attitudes toward entitlement to health care and the endorsement of principles stemming from human rights and the best interest of the child. Case-based discussions with professionals facing value dilemmas and training on children's rights are needed to promote equitable practices and advocacy against regulations limiting services.
Intellectual disabilities (ID) are conditions originating before the age of 18 that result in significant limitations in intellectual functioning and conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills. IDs affect 1 to 3% of the population. Persons with ID are more likely to have physical disabilities, mental health problems, hearing impairments, vision impairments and communication disorders. These co-existing disabilities, combined with the limitations in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviours, make this group of Canadians particularly vulnerable to health disparities. The purpose of this synthesis article is to explore potential contributory factors to health vulnerabilities faced by persons with ID, reveal the extent and nature of health disparities in this population, and examine initiatives to address such differences. The review indicates that persons with ID fare worse than the general population on a number of key health indicators. The factors leading to vulnerability are numerous and complex. They include the way society has viewed ID, the etiology of ID, health damaging behaviours, exposure to unhealthy environments, health-related mobility and inadequate access to essential health and other basic services. For persons with ID there are important disparities in access to care that are difficult to disentangle from discriminatory values and practice. Policy-makers in the United States, England and Scotland have recently begun to address these issues. It is recommended that a clear vision for health policy and strategies be created to address health disparities faced by persons with ID in Canada.
Primary health care (PHC) renewal was designed explicitly to attend to the multidimensional factors impacting on health, including the social determinants of health. These determinants are central considerations in the development of integrated, cross-sectoral, and multi-jurisdictional policies such as those that inform models of shared mental health care for children. However, there are complex theoretical challenges in translating these multidimensional issues into policy. One of these is the rarely discussed interrelationships among the social determinants of health and identities such as race, gender, age, sexuality, and social class within the added confluence of geographic contexts. An intersectionality lens is used to examine the complex interrelationships among the factors affecting child mental health and the associated policy challenges surrounding PHC renewal. The authors argue that an understanding of the intersections of social determinants of health, identity, and geography is pivotal in guiding policy-makers as they address child mental health inequities using a PHC renewal agenda.
Erratum In: Can J Nurs Res. 2010 Dec;42(4):2 p preceding table of contents
Ever since the advent of pediatric vaccination, individuals have expressed concerns about both its risks and benefits. These concerns have once again resurfaced among some segments of the population and could potentially undermine national vaccination programs. The views of the public, however, must be considered and respected in the formulation of vaccination policy. We have conducted an analysis of the pediatric vaccination "debate" in the Canadian context. We believe that there is common ground between those who support pediatric vaccination and those who are concerned about these programs. Based on our findings, we believe that the goal of public health authorities should be to maintain trust in vaccines by continuing to meet certain reciprocal responsibilities. To do so, we recommend the following: 1) increased investment in adverse event reporting systems; 2) request for proposals for consideration of a no-fault compensation program; 3) developing pre-emptive strategies to deal with potential vaccine risks; 4) further examination of mechanisms to improve communication between physicians and parents concerned about vaccination. All of these approaches would require additional investment in pediatric vaccination. However, such an investment is easy to justify given the benefits offered by pediatric vaccination and the ramifications of failing to maintain confidence in vaccination programs or missing a vaccine-related adverse event.
Comment In: Can J Public Health. 2006 Mar-Apr;97(2):86-916619991
A retrospective analysis of the adverse reactions reported between 1979 and 1991, in the 139,000 children under six years of age vaccinated in Sweden with the Danish BCG vaccine, strain Copenhagen 1331, showed an incidence of 1.9 per 1000 vaccinated children. Regional lymphoglandular swellings and/or abscesses were most commonly reported in 1.4 per 1000. Serious, disseminated, BCG infections developed in four infants vaccinated neonatally. Three of the infants suffered from severe, combined, immunodeficiency syndrome, undiagnosed at the time of vaccination. The incidence of severe, combined, immunodeficiency syndrome was higher in the BCG-vaccinated population (4 per 100,000 infants vaccinated within a year of their births), compared with all newborns in Sweden (1 per 100,000). The mean age at the onset of symptoms was 2.4 months for the seven non-BCG-vaccinated infants versus 1.3 months for the four BCG-vaccinated ones, while the immunodeficiency syndrome was diagnosed at an average age of 7.6 months in those who were not vaccinated versus 5.3 months in those BCG-vaccinated. It is recommended that the selective BCG vaccination of infants at high risk of exposure to tuberculosis should be postponed to six months of age to reduce the risk of inoculating infants suffering from immunodeficiency syndromes.
Infant health and survival in the US compare unfavorably with other Western industrial democracies. Circumstances that contribute to favorable pregnancy outcomes in other countries include nearly complete participation of pregnant women in early prenatal care and linkage of care to extensive support benefits. The study reported here extends these earlier observations to preventive health services for children from infancy through adolescence and to the social benefit programs that support their families. This report looks at the condition of children in 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. All of these countries have better infant survival rates than the US, and they all share elements of pluralism in their systems of health care.
Despite the widespread use of pertussis vaccines during the last decades, pertussis has remained an endemic disease with frequent epidemic outbreaks. Currently two types of vaccines are used: whole-cell vaccines (WCVs) and recently developed acellular vaccines (ACVs). The long-term aim of our studies is to assess the effect of different vaccination policies on the population structure of Bordetella pertussis and ultimately on the disease burden in Europe. In the present study, a total of 102 B. pertussis isolates from the period 1998 to 2001 from five European countries (Finland, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, and France) were characterized. The isolates were analyzed by typing based on variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR); by sequencing of polymorphic genes encoding the surface proteins pertussis toxin S1 and S3 subunits (ptxA and ptxC), pertactin (prn), and tracheal colonization factor (tcfA); and by fimbrial serotyping. The results reveal a relationship between geographic location and VNTR types, the frequency of the ptxC alleles, and serotypes. We have not observed a relationship between the strain characteristics we studied and vaccination programs. Our results provide a baseline which can be used to reveal changes in the B. pertussis population in Europe in the coming years.