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J Paediatr Child Health. 2003 Mar;39(2):95-9.

Maternal and Infant Services: examination of access in a culturally diverse community.

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Centre for Health, Equity, Training, Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.



The aim of this study was to evaluate access of resident immigrant families from a non-English speaking background to Maternal and Infant Services operated by Community Health Services in south-western Sydney.


An ecological study compared the demographic characteristics of mothers with an infant aged less than 12 months in three separate data collections. These were a 3-month Community-based Health Services Census, the 1996 Midwives Data Collection and the ABS 1996 Census of Population and Housing.


Information was collected from 2048 infants and their families who were newly registered with Maternal and Infant Services. Approximately 75% of newborn infants were registered with services. Women who were born in a non-English-speaking country were over-represented in the data. For both overseas and Australian-born women those who left school aged less than 17 years were under-represented compared with analysis of the related data systems.


The data suggest that migrant women from non-English-speaking backgrounds are accessing Maternal and Infant Services. However, innovative approaches for service delivery are indicated for women who may be considered socially disadvantaged, irrespective of their ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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