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INTRODUCTION Australia is a largely multicultural society and our health care system will often not acknowledge the diversity of culture and race that midwives work with Many issues will hinder a woman from ethnic background to gain the care she deserves and needs The essay focuses on the cultural issues such as troubles with accessing care stereotyping by health professionals communication problems immigration experiences and spirituality and suggests strategies of the identified issues to provide a sensitive and safe care to the woman and her baby Definition of culture and health Over the last 50 years Australians have experienced more change in their society than any other nation from being an Anglo-Saxon dominating country to a multicultural society Culture exists in every society it is the specific learned norms based on attitudes values and beliefs Culture is often based on long standing traditions that have been passed from elders to the younger generation It can be evolved through societal and religious influences Schott and Henley 1996 To explore the health it is described as physical and mental well-being and freedom from disease pain or defect The way we think about health and illness is socially constructed as we are used to accepting the views of the medical profession The most important factors determining health are the persons socio-economic status that strongly affects health and longevity Access to care Firstly one of the cultural issues to receiving quality prenatal care is to help improve the provision of health care services in Australia The focus must be to provide equal opportunities to access health services for those who are more disadvantaged For example those people being of low socio-economic status Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people of Non-English Speaking backgrounds and many rural communities Gunstone Maddock Matthews Roy 2000 World Health Organisation 1986 has created the Ottawa Charter which recognizes the need for people to increase control over and improve their health by following
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