Social factors affecting pregnancy and child care
Ethnicity, Race and Culture
This relationship is understandably complex and many has come about on how to defined ethnicity, race and culture. Ethnicity is defined by religious differences from the ‘majority’ or dominant population and combined with common geographical origin and linguistic. Race is a concept used to differentiate groups of people biologically on the basis of supposed differences in their genetic makeup. However, there were different definitions such as ‘a socially and politically constructed concept that is used to justify the inferior treatment and greater exploitation of certain groups within a given society. This issue were greatly discussed and has also been debated considering the ethnic health differences especially in a multiracial country like Malaysia. Therefore, health professionals are getting more concerned about how best to provide ‘culturally competent’ care for their patients.
According to the table above, it is clearly shown that the dominant population in Malaysia is Bumiputera which includes the Malay population. Malay population is two times larger than the 2nd highest population (Chinese) and is fourteen times larger than the Indians population which is simply a vast comparison. Therefore, racial health differences and stereotypes between healthcare professionals and pregnant women could probably be one of the factors affecting pregnancy. The main cause of hospitalisation is also pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium which are 25.94%. This would most probably lead to racial health differences in treating the pregnant woman.
Besides, thinking on the cultural aspect, Malay pregnant lady would prefer their doctors to be Malay female doctors. According to the Muslim culture, Muslim ladies are not allowed to be touch by other man except for their own husbands. In addition to that, they might feel more comfortable while using their own mother tongue, Malay. As mentioned by Siti, she was very thankful to have a Malay GP for her antenatal check-up as she can express herself better and the process was smoothly done. Therefore, the access of the pregnant woman to the healthcare services might be affected as the pregnant woman might be choosy over the cultural background of the doctors.
a) Locality and Demographic
Secondly, ethnicity and race simply affects ones locality. According to Malaysian history, ethnicity and race plays an important part in affecting locality and demographic. Malay used to stay in the ‘kampung’ (village) because Malay is responsible in crops and agriculture. Chinese used to stay in the city because they were the one who dealt with trading and business while Indian used to stay in rubber estate as they are mostly rubber tappers. Although this might not be applicable in the present, a few ethnic are still be applicable but not due to their job scope.
For example in Malaysia, there are various indigenous people such as, Iban,...