You are here: Home News More regional migrants use health services

More regional migrants use health services

Guampdn - March 15, 2012. "When Rista Simion was hired at the Northern Regional Community Health Center in Dededo, she translated the automatic telephone options into the language of people from Chuuk state."

"This simple act has helped bring in many more Chuukese patients who need care, said Linda Unpingco-Denorcey, administrator of the Department of Public Health and Social Services community health centers.

In fact, just hiring a Chuukese translator has been a game changer for the health centers.

The number of regional migrants using Public Health clinics has risen over the last several years. In 2005 regional migrants made up about 26 percent of Public Health's clientele. In 2010 their numbers grew to 35 percent --mostly from Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Before 2008, when Simion was brought on board, there was no Chuukese translator. She said she isn't sure how things got done around the clinic.

The language barrier created apprehension and unneeded confusion -- even fights, said Unpingco-Denorcey.

The uptick in Micronesian client numbers has forced Public Health to rethink its care strategies. That's why Simion and Shining Sos, a perinatal care coordinator, were brought on board. Both women, who are from Chuuk, have helped attract Chuukese patients, who are often afraid to seek treatment or have trouble navigating Public Health.

"A lot of them go into the health-care system and they're totally lost," said Unpingco-Denorcey.

Some Micronesian immigrants aren't aware of the services available, or have trouble following through with prenatal care --a process that could make the difference between life and death for an infant. Unpingco-Denorcey said she's seen women come in for help in their third trimester of pregnancy, way too late for medical care to try to avoid complications during birth.

Because of their knowledge of Chuukese culture and language, Simion and Sos are instrumental in the process of keeping migrants and their children healthy. When there wasn't a Chuukese perinatal coordinator or a Chuukese translator, Chuukese people would have to bring their own translators -- friends or family --along. Or worse, they would have to guess at what doctors were saying. Sometimes, even if the patient brought a translator, the translation was wrong."

Read the full article HERE


Document Actions
comments powered by Disqus