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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.07.24

Immigration and Health

IMAJ | volume

Journal 12, December 2001
pages: 932-936

Ethiopian Parents' Perception of Their Children's Health: A Focus Group Study of Immigrants to Israel


    Background: The recent influx of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel has created challenges for healthcare workers. Qualitative research methods have proven to be of value in providing useful data in cross-cultural medical settings.

    Objective: To learn about parents' perception of the health of their children among a group of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.

    Methods: Ethiopian parents of children under age 3 registered with a family medicine clinic in Jerusalem were invited to participate in two focus groups. Transcripts of the group discussions were analyzed to reveal themes relating to children's health.

    Results: Analysis of the transcripts revealed five themes relating to the health of children in two domains: the intra-familial and the extra-familial. Specific themes that emerged in the intra-familial domain were: the role of traditional medicine, gender-specific roles in child care, and decision-making in seeking extra-familial medical help. Themes in the extra-familial domain were recognition of illness and the meaning of symptoms, and notions of prevention and resistance to illness. The collected data found application in the daily clinical work of the researchers and enriched understanding of their patients.

    Conclusions: Ethiopian immigrants to Israel share special perceptions of their children’s health that differ from prevailing beliefs in Israel. Focus groups provide health workers with a wealth of data on these beliefs that will enable them to offer more culturally sensitive care.


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