Patterns of Health Services Utilization among Arab Immigrants from Levant

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 4:05 PM

Salah-Addin H. Aqtash, PhD, RN
Academic and Training Affairs, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Learning Objective 1: identify patterns of utilization of preventive health services by Arab Immigrants from Levant

Learning Objective 2: identify barriers to utilization of preventive health services by Arab Immigrants from Levant

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify Arab immigrants from Levant patterns of utilization of preventive health services.  
Methods: Data were collected from five local community based organizations in Southern California. A total of 218 subjects were surveyed, the majority of which completed the survey in Arabic. The survey included two components: demographic factors and personal health data. Personal health data measures included personal health practices, perceived health status, access to and utilization of preventive health services, and barriers to utilization measures.  
Results: Final data analysis included 205 subjects as 13 surveys were incomplete. Content analysis revealed that 47% of the sample perceived their health as good, while 1.9% perception was poor. Sixty nine percent indicated they had a physical exam done within the last year and only 5.3% never had physical exam.  Nearly 85% reported they had a place to visit if they get sick, need either advice about their health or routine preventive care. Doctors offices were the most visited places (52.2%) followed by health care clinics (44.8%). Participants identified numerous barriers for utilization of preventive health services. Nearly 53% of the population considered lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity as well as lack of appreciation for religious belief by health care providers as major barrier. Moreover, cost of services (44.7%), lack of familiarity with health services resources (32%), lack of familiarity with English language (27%), preference to try folk health remedies (26.1%), and availability of transportation (10.2%) were additional reported barriers.
Conclusion: The presence of numerous barriers to access and utilization of preventive health services highlighted the need to develop culturally specific education programs that focus on enhancing the utilization of preventive health services.