суббота, 29 сентября 2012 г.

Latinos still lack access to health services - La Voz Nueva

Latinos in Colorado pay a high 'human cost' each year for not having access to proper health care services, according to a recent report published by the Colorado Department of Health.

The Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Colorado 2005 report confirms Latinos are 'disproportionately affected' by chronic diseases, including diabetes, hepatitis, cervical cancer, kidney diseases and tuberculosis. There is also a high incidence of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases among Latinos, a high pregnancy rate, and even a higher death rate due to homicides or legal intervention.

Also in Colorado, there are around 2,800 obese Latinos who need health care but can't afford it. At the same time, there are no obese Anglos in that situation.

Speaking recently at Denver Health, Lucy Trujillo, president of the Colorado Minority Health Forum, said many people still do not understand the disparity in access to health care in Colorado.

If Latinos and other minorities could have the same health care other groups have, there will be a decrease in health related problems and mortality, and the quality of life in the city will be better, according to Trujillo.

However, there are still many obstacles, as shown in the new report. Trujillo said the new information should be a wake-up call for community leaders to unite and act soon, before more people die.

But this is a complex problem, with many factors involved, including traditional beliefs, culturally established responses, level of education, nutritional habits, exercise, and family income.

There is another factor, seldom mentioned but very real, according to Trujillo. She suggested there is still racism and prejudice in the medical community, so nonminority people get better treatment and easier access to health care than minority people, even if money is not a problem.

The new report reaffirms a similar study presented in 2004 by Dr. Paula Espinoza of the Latino Research and Policy Center at University of Colorado in Denver. According to the Espinoza's study, only 48 percent of Latinos in Colorado have health care insurance, leaving more than 430,000 Hispanics with no coverage, and relying only on free health services, community clinics, and Medicare or Medicaid.

At the same time, 77 percent of Anglos in Colorado have medical insurance, and only 13 percent of them need Medicare or Medicaid.

Espinoza's report also said the situation is even worst, due to the fact that many Latinos work in unhealthy conditions, during long hours or in physically-demanding jobs. When they need treatment, they prefer traditional medicine (curanderos).

And if they eventually decide to go to a hospital, there will probably be no bilingual doctor at hand.

Article copyright Santa Fe Publishing Co.