Challenges for Maternal and Child Health Research in The Bedouin Indigenous minority In Israel
Bedouins are Israeli citizens who have been living in the south for many decades. They are Israel’s most economically deprived minority and have poor health status. Bedouin infants have higher morbidity and mortality rates compared to their counterparts.
We conducted this study in 2007-2008 to better understand maternal experiences of infant care while drawing on social-ecological approaches to raise Bedouin mothers’ voices and inform policy and interventions.
Multiple factors embedded in Bedouins’ political and historical context complicate research, mainly land disputes with Israeli governments, changes in societal socioeconomic structure from monadic to semi-urban, and socio-cultural transitions including family structure and gender relations. Israeli governments do not recognize Bedouins as an indigenous minority, 40% of them live in legally unrecognized villages with houses that are continually threatened with demolition. These villages lack basic infrastructure including water, electricity, primary care clinics and social services. Conducting research among Bedouins requires building trust and recognizing their health and human rights while understanding their complex political, historical, and social contexts. Building on local knowledge is crucial and requires outstanding research methods. Other issues include attaining ethics approval, maintaining confidentiality, and overcoming language barriers as mothers lack basic reading and writing skills. Funding opportunities and scholarly publication requires additional effort and time. Recognizing these challenges might provide an opportunity for more advanced research among Bedouins and other indigenous populations.
Learning Areas:Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the challenges and opportunities of conducting research on maternal and child health among Arab Bedouin Indigenous mothers in southern Israel.
Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in all aspects of the study including: study design, data collection and analysis and writing the papers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.