My role


African Caribbean dads discuss health access

African Caribbean fathers are not aware of what primary health care services exist and make little use of preventive health services according to new study from Birmingham.

The qualitative research carried out by Dr Robert Williams and Dr Alistair Hewison for the Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust (HOBtPCT) involved in-depth interviews with 46 African-Caribbean fathers and 2 respondents who were not fathers.

The researchers made a series of recommendations including a review of access to services, the use of social networks in African Caribbean communities to encourage service-use and training for staff in cultural competence and cultural sensitivity. They also identified further research needs.

Challenging the notion of these men as a 'hard to reach' group, the dads are revealed as committed fathers passionate about the health and well-being of their children. Their lack of knowledge about services did not appear to arise from a lack of interest.

'A mental sort of calm'

'It goes without saying really that self-esteem is important,' said one dad. 'You try and convey it, you know, be confident, be bold. But on the health aspect of that I'm very concerned, as we all are, about

mental health provision for our community and the issues that we face. You're constantly aware of the need to have a self esteem but also just a mental sort of calm and, being able to express and sit down and talk.'

Dr Williams said: 'There is so little written about African Caribbean fathers, their health, and certainly about their views about mental well being, communities and structural factors.' This important report begins to fill that gap.

Page created on June 3rd, 2009

Page updated on December 1st, 2009