Pediatric Healthcare Disparities Essay

Disparities in healthcare of children are complex problem that is associated with the disparities that exist in healthcare systems. These inequalities in the access to health care include the following factors: race and ethnicity, insurance status, education, English language proficiency, and poverty(Sobo, 2006). The aforementioned factors affect access to healthcare and the quality of service received. The racial disparities in pediatric healthcare are a tremendously pervasive depressing problem.

Instead of those who most need the healthcare receiving it, they are given less priority hence these services did not reach them(Lieu, 2003). Among the most important gauges of soundness of health in children is being able to acquire healthcare services that are of high quality. Children’s health needs appropriate and apt use of medical services like physical examinations, laboratory test for diseases, and immunizations. These services are deprived to the children of the socioeconomic minority.

Healthcare disparities observed pertains to less access to healthcare services and acquisition of low quality health care services by people whom are poor, of racial and ethnic minority, limited English proficiency, and low educational attainment. Children that belong to the racial and ethnic minorities receive an inferior quality of healthcare. Not only are there a small number of children in the minority class suffering from this type of problem but millions of them(Beal, 2004). Mortality in infants in Black communities is doubled when compared to the mortalities of infants of the White communities.

Even this maternal and societal health’s most significant gauge confirms that the existence of racial and ethnic disparities is true. In United States, the people of color at present have a bleak healthcare condition. Approximately 20 percent Black and 30 percent Hispanic Americans do not have consistent source of medical care compared to less than 16 percent of the White Americans. There is a three-fold increase to the numbers of Hispanic children that do not have access to healthcare when compared to children that are not Hispanic Americans(AHRQ 2000).

These alarming data poses a threat to the state of health especially of children that belongs to this people that belongs to the racial and ethnic minorities. Studies which were done for the determination of the factors involved in the disparities of pediatric healthcare are of significance in identification of populations involved in these dilemma. In a study done by Hambinge et al, it was found that in well-child visits (WCVs) the black and Latino children were given less counseling(Hambidge, 2007).

Racial minorities in United States such as the Latino and Black children are the main population that suffers from these inconsistencies in the provision of healthcare. Scott (2004) indicated in the conclusion of their study that Hispanic or Latino children has increased risk of having no access to healthcare services in the last 15 years. Hispanic or Latino is defined in the study as individuals that came from countries in Central America, North America, Caribbean, and Europe.

The absence of access to healthcare services was found to be greater in Hispanic/ Latino children with low economic status, whose parents have no college degree, and born in other countries or not born in United States. The race which is most predispose to lack of access healthcare are children of Mexicans due to their poverty status or low educational achievements(Scott 2004). The study of Flores (2005) found an association in children’s health and healthcare to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) of their parents. This factor has a significant impact as a barrier for the acquisition of healthcare in children.

The research also indicated that parental LEP has a direct association to the possibility that children in need of medical care can not be brought to healthcare providers. Racial and ethnic healthcare disparity is proven through this study because the bulk of the children that participated in the study were of racial and ethnic minority groups, 82 percent Latino, 2 percent Caribbean black, 10 percent African American, 2 percent non-Latino white, 1 percent African, 0. 3 percent Asian, and 1 percent combination of other races. Large portion of this participating population can not speak English very well.

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Thus, the ability to speak English fluently of children and their parents will determine their chance of receiving appropriate healthcare services(Flores, 2005). The continuing presence of racism in the healthcare sector of the society is found to be related to the underrepresentation of minority racial and ethnic groups in professions of the medical industry. Generally speaking people that are poor are predominantly people of color such as the Blacks and Hispanics. Poverty does not allow them to be with the education needed to work in healthcare industry so they are underrepresented in this profession.

Study results prove that people of color in the medical profession tend to provide more healthcare services to those people which are also of color. The possibility of providing healthcare services to the poor portion of the population is also proven to be attributed to those medical professionals that are people of color. This underrepresentation explains why the racial and ethnic minority receive less healthcare services(ERASE ). Even though it is said that in professional fields the race of an individual hardly matters it is rarely true.

The complexity of the factors that are involve in the disparities of healthcare in general should not hinder in the search and implementation of solutions that will alleviate the disparities suffered by the people of racial and ethnic minority, low educational attainment, limited English proficiency, and economically challenged. It is the responsibility of healthcare providers to serve the public with equality to promote the health status of the whole population instead of only those that belong to the elite portion of the population.

The present ways of addressing the disparities in healthcare is focused not only on the professionals that will provide the services but also to the public consumers of these services. The goal is centered towards providing equal chance of receiving quality healthcare services. One of these strategies is the establishment of guidelines that will help medical practitioners handle, diagnose, and treat with professional competence the health cases of the people that belong to socioeconomic minority.

Another strategy is helping the patients and their families pursue healthcare of high quality thru assessment of healthcare services provided by the healthcare recipient or client. Publications are written in various languages to facilitate understanding of the contents by those people that are with Limited English Proficiency. Booklets or pamphlets are also produces to help parents assess if their children were provided with health services of high quality. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is also finding ways to develop enhanced strategies for quality improvement of healthcare services.

Their initiative is focused on eliminating healthcare racial and ethnic disparities, supporting of the healthcare providers that supply services to communities of the minority people, and conducting seminars or trainings on how to address healthcare disparities(AHRQ 2000). The existence of racism can not be denied even though the society has already learned to accept that people are of diverse cultures and beliefs. Various organizations have been established to stop the disparities in healthcare of children and promote equality in the acquisition of these services.

Despite the research and strategies that are implemented to counteract the increasing numbers of children having no access to good quality healthcare especially those of the minority racial and ethnic origin, the problem is still present along its complexities. Though it’s a cliche “children are the future of every nation” thus it is only prompt that actions should be undertaken to promote holistic growth of their well being. Eradication of these disparities in pediatric healthcare will ensure that tomorrow’s generation will have a better health.

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