The challenges of health promotion within African communities in New Zealand
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The current study seeks to identify the key health promotion challenges faced by New Zealand African communities. I used a phenomenological approach to critically examine the meanings and experiences of participants on health promotion (Polit & Beck, 2004). The use of the phenomenological approach enabled participants to share their “lived” experiences regarding the health promotion challenges within African communities in New Zealand. In addition, I used ethno-methodology to help me understand how cultural norms, values, beliefs and practices impact on awareness and acceptance of health promotion practices by African individuals and communities in New Zealand (Polit & Beck, 2004). In-depth interviews with 20 African community leaders, 10 service providers and one focus group with African community members critically examined participants’ personal experiences of health promotion by African communities in New Zealand. Eight key health promotion challenges faced by African communities’ were identified, namely: African communities’ understanding of the concept of public health; African communities’ access to health services; Language barrier as a main challenge to accessing health promotion; Spirituality and traditional beliefs of African health consumers; Lack of understanding of the cultural context of African communities by health practitioners; Racism and discrimination within the health sector; Housing issues as a challenge to the promotion of health within African communities and HIV and AIDS related-Stigma as a challenge to health promotion within the African communities. The study concludes that health promotion within African communities in New Zealand can only be effective when these issues are addressed within the African communities as well as the public health sector and institutional systematic levels.