Conference Paper

Assessing the Prenatal Needs of West African Immigrants in the Philadelphia Area

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Abstract

Background: The access of immigrants to prenatal healthcare has been heavily documented because adequate care is key in the reduction of infant mortality and the improvement of birth outcomes. While most available research centers on the needs of Hispanic American and Asian populations, there is less information on the growing number of West African immigrants. Even though West Africans also face the discrimination, language, and financial barriers that other immigrants face, their prenatal needs have not been adequately addressed. Methods: Two phases of interviews gathered qualitative results on West African women and prenatal care. Phase 1 included interviews with community stakeholders and Phase 2 involved a focus group of West African females. Results were used for recommendations to the Nationalities Service Center of Philadelphia to enhance services to West Africans. Results: Preliminary results suggest that belief in the importance of prenatal care in both country of origin and the U.S is high and that utilization of prenatal care is not a major concern. However, both Phase I and II participants were concerned about the access to general healthcare services and the financing of consistent care, especially for follow up care. Conclusion: The healthcare infrastructure needs to increase its research and support of West African immigrants as they try to navigate the health system by ensuring funding, navigation services, and continuous care to this growing population.

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