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Promotion of Mothers' and Children's Health in the Immigrant Population

The Marches Region
Italy

 

The social disadvantages of immigrant women and their difficulties in obtaining access to services lead to poorer health results, as shown by many international, national and local epidemiological studies. The research done in the Marches Region has highlighted the following critical points for immigrant women: i) a risk of the late use of possible contraception methods; ii) a lack of participation in birth training and support courses; iii) a low level of home care after the birth; and iv) a lack of information on the labour process.

Based on this evidence, the Marches Region has developed this programme to increase the effectiveness of health services in protecting the health of immigrant women. The following activities have been carried out since 2006: i) production of a video (DVD) in 11 languages; ii) a training course at the regional level, to train professionals; iii) free distribution of the video in all the hospitals and health services in the Region; iv) production of information material in various languages as support for the video; and v) follow-up on the use of the video.

The video is divided into five sections: what do I do during my pregnancy?; the birth; the period after the birth and breastfeeding; caring for the child and the mother; and women's health. The work was carried out by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, intercultural mediators and immigrant women, who brought their knowledge and different points of view to the project.

The follow-up results showed that in the period between March 2006 and March 2007 3,331 women saw the video, and 85% of these were immigrants of 53 different nationalities. Among the difficulties found are some resistance by professionals, some logistic difficulties (venue, space, equipment, etc.) and sometimes a reluctance to allocate time to immigrant women.