May 08, 2018
Racism strain in rheumatic treatment
Maori and Pacific people suffering from rheumatic fever have been subject to racism and rough handling from health professionals, according to a Ministry of Health funded report.
The study by the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences looked at Maori and Pacific whanau experiences and understandings of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
Lead author Anneka Anderson says whanau complained of racism and a lack of cultural safety and understanding, particularly within hospital contexts.
Study participants were subjected to verbal racism-such as being called coconuts-and to being treated differently by medical professionals because of their socially assigned ethnicity.
Dr Anderson says there is no evidence to support Maori and Pacific people having an increased genetic susceptibility to rheumatic fever.
The fact they are far more likely to get the disease reflects social, political and economic influences that result in socioeconomic deprivation, overcrowded conditions, an increased incidence of streptococcal infections and differing opportunities for appropriate and effective health care.
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