“Immigrant children may arrive with health problems that went untreated in their native country; they may speak neither English nor French; they may have different beliefs about health and illness and different expectations of the health system. Even the climate may be completely unfamiliar. For refugees, often fleeing hunger, violence, and chaos in their home countries, the challenges are still greater.
“After they arrive in Canada, immigrant children may find themselves living in an area with high crime rates, poor public transportation, and few stores that sell familiar, affordable food. Their parents may have to work long hours for low pay, sometimes at more than one job, meaning less time spent together as a family. The family must adjust to a new school system and find health care providers they trust. In all cases, there is an intense period of adjustment in their new country during which less than optimal attention may be paid to routine health issues.
“Despite these challenges, many immigrant children adapt and do well. But still, too often, immigrant children’s needs are not adequately met”.
The piece is co-authored by Denis Daneman, MB, BCh, FRCP(C) and Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, MD, FRCP(C).