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.
This article addresses the challenge of igniting action on health promotion for women in Canada with respect to alcohol use during pregnancy. We illustrate that accelerated action on health promotion for women that engages multiple levels of players, women-centred and harm-reduction frameworks and a gendered approach to understanding women's lives can be achieved when the right policy moment occurs. We illustrate this by describing the opportunity afforded by the Olympic Games in 2010, where the BC government used the Games to encourage action on women's health promotion and the prevention of alcohol use in pregnancy. We suggest that the 2011 announcement of new low-risk drinking guidelines that recommend lower intake of alcohol for women than for men offers another, to date unused, opportunity.
In Canada, First Nations women are far less likely to breastfeed than other women. First Nations people have been subjected to massive health and social disparities and are at the lowest end of the scale on every measure of well-being. The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences, strengths, and challenges of breastfeeding for First Nations women. Central to the current research is the notion of an embodiment within indigenous women's health and, more specifically, breastfeeding perspectives.
Guided by an indigenous feminist standpoint, our research study evolved through honest discussions and is informed by relevant public health literature on breastfeeding. We collected quantitative data through a survey on demographics and feeding practices, and we conducted focus groups in three Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario) over a period of 1 year (2010) from 65 women in seven First Nation communities.
Three overarching themes are discussed: social factors, including perceptions of self; breastfeeding environments; and intimacy, including the contribution of fathers. The main findings are that breastfeeding is conducive to bed sharing, whereas a history of residential school attendance, physical and psychological trauma, evacuations for childbirth, and teen pregnancy are obstacles to breastfeeding. Also, fathers play a pivotal role in a woman's decision to breastfeed.
Findings from this study contribute to informing public health by reconsidering simplistic health promotion and public health policies and, instead, educating First Nations communities about the complexity of factors associated with multiple breastfeeding environments.
Medical travel policies are instituted in all rural and remote areas of Canada as a means of providing universal health care services to residents. These policies are framed, developed and implemented from a colonial perspective and require re-examination through a more inclusive and collaborative postcolonial lens. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the medical travel policy for childbirth in Canada's Northwest Territories from a postcolonial perspective and in consideration of the cultural safety of pregnant Tlicho women. The context within which Tlicho birthing and this policy thrives is reviewed along with the exploration of future possibilities. Personal, socioeconomic, political and legal factors surrounding birthing are highlighted. It is anticipated, that by illuminating the oppressive and paternalistic nature of this childbirth policy, there will be heightened awareness that fosters transitions within the system to transform current risk discourse creating new possibilities for Tlicho women in the birth of their babies.
In its American context the case of baby Messenger, a preterm infant disconnected from life-support by his father and allowed to die has generated debate about neonatal treatment protocols. Limited by the legal and ethical norms of the United States, this case did not consider treatment protocols that might be available in other countries such as Denmark and Israel: threshold protocols whereby certain classes of newborns are not treated, and preemptive abortion allowing one to choose late-term abortion rather than risk delivery. Each offers a viable and ethically sound avenue for dealing with the economic and social expense of anomalous newborns by aborting or not treating those most likely to burden the health care system. Objections that these protocols are antithetical to American bioethical principles are considered but rejected as each policy answers to economic justice, utility and respect for autonomy.