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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2015 Aug;38(2):96-109.

Assessing equitable care for Indigenous and Afrodescendant women in Latin America.

Author information

1
Institute for Health Equity in Latin America.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify and understand the barriers to equitable care within health care settings that women of ethnic minorities encounter in Latin America and to examine possible strategies for mitigating the issues.

METHODS:

This was a comprehensive review of the literature from 2000-2015 available from the online databases PubMed, Google Scholar, EBSCOhost, and SciELO in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, using a keyword search that included the Region and country names.

RESULTS:

Health provider discrimination against Indigenous and Afrodescendant women is a primary barrier to quality health care access in Latin America. Discrimination is driven by biases against ethnic minority populations, women, and the poor in general. Discriminatory practices can manifest as patient-blaming, purposeful neglect, verbal or physical abuse, disregard for traditional beliefs, and the non-use of Indigenous languages for patient communication. These obstacles prevent delivery of appropriate and timely clinical care, and also produce fear of shame, abuse, or ineffective treatment, which, in addition to financial barriers, deter women from seeking care.

CONCLUSIONS:

To ensure optimal health outcomes among Indigenous and Afrodescendant women in Latin America, the issue of discrimination in health care settings needs to be understood and addressed as a key driver of inequitable health outcomes. Strategies that target provider behavior alone have limited impact because they do not address women's needs and the context of socioeconomic inequality in which intra-hospital relations are built.

PMID:
26581050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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