Health Inequities Experienced by Aboriginal Children With Respiratory Conditions and Their Parents

Miriam Stewart, Malcolm King, Roxanne Blood, Nicole Letourneau, Jeffrey R. Masuda, Sharon Anderson, Lisa Bourque Bearskin


Asthma and allergies are common conditions among Aboriginal children and adolescents. The purpose of this study was to assess the health and health-care inequities experienced by affected children and by their parents. Aboriginal research assistants conducted individual interviews with 46 Aboriginal children and adolescents who had asthma and/or allergies (26 First Nations, 19 Métis, 1 Inuit) and 51 parents or guardians of these children and adolescents. Follow-up group interviews were conducted with 16 adolescents and 25 parents/guardians. Participants reported inadequate educational resources, environmental vulnerability, social and cultural pressures, exclusion, isolation, stigma, blame, and major support deficits. They also described barriers to health-service access, inadequate health care, disrespectful treatment and discrimination by health-care providers, and deficient health insurance. These children, adolescents, and parents recommended the establishment of culturally appropriate support and education programs delivered by Aboriginal peers and health professionals.

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