Haitian Women Living in Miami Less Likely Than Black, White Women To Have Had Pap Test, Research Shows
Only 44% of Haitians over age 18 who live in the Little Haiti neighborhood in Miami have had a Pap test, compared with 84% of black women and 84% of white women, according to a study by researchers at the University of Miami, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
According to experts, the findings could signal a trend of how Haitian women in other areas of the U.S. approach preventive health care. Marlene Cesar, president of the Haitian American Nurses Association, said, "Culturally, many Haitians don't believe in preventive health. They only go when they have a crisis."
Economic and cultural barriers, such as being uninsured, preferring traditional healing methods and distrusting Western medicine, affect screening rates among Haitian women, the Sun-Sentinel reports. In addition, women who are not U.S. citizens often fear going to a doctor or hospital for preventive care, some community leaders said.
Study researcher Erin Kobetz, a professor at the University of Miami, said, "When you have underserved and marginalized individuals with inadequate access, it's not shocking that those individuals would be screened in lower percentages than others."
To address the issue, community leaders suggested that health care providers work more closely with traditional healers to spread messages about preventive care among Haitian immigrants. Pascale Auguste, project coordinator with the Haitian American Association Against Cancer, added, "When you're working with the Haitian community, you have to bring it to them in their language" (East, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/31).