New research sheds light on migrant mothers (part 2)

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As mentioned in the previous article, new research sheds light on migrant mothers, the Facilitators launched the Health Care Action for Working Mothers and released a report calling for more attention to be paid to this vulnerable group.

Among the cases studied, more than one third of working mothers said that they were in poor health; more than half felt their health was getting worse each year; and more than 90 percent considered their health to be the most important factor in their life.

Worryingly, one in five working mothers is not covered by medical insurance, and those covered are often blocked by the incompatibility between rural and urban administrative systems, meaning that their medical bills cannot be reimbursed.

Anxious about spending money, nearly two thirds of working mothers choose not to go to hospital when health problems occur. Instead they treat themselves and search online for relevant knowledge. Sometimes they ignore health problems altogether.

Although most working mothers recognize the importance of regular health checkups, 32.02 percent have never received a medical examination, 36.45 percent have only participated once in pre-employment medical checks, and only one tenth participated in regular medical examinations.

While conducting the research, the Facilitators provided free medical examination services to the interviewees and discovered various health problems, including instances of:

High cholesterol (46.08 percent), abnormal thyroid  (32.72 percent), fatty liver (17.05 percent), and increased blood pressure (17.51 percent).

Just over 34 percent of the women were overweight. Around 71 percent suffered from breast hyperplasia, which is much higher than the national average (about 50 percent), 16.13 percent from uterine fibroids and 4.15 percent from ovarian cysts.

In order to improve the health of working mothers, the report gives recommendations for all sectors of society:

For NGOs: 

The Facilitators called on NGOs to be more involved. Volunteer associations and social worker agencies should provide emergency rescue services, conduct social assistance, coordinate medical resources, etc.

Volunteers with a medical background could be organized to regularly carry out health examinations for working mothers and help them understand their medical reports.

Grassroots NGOs could form mutual-aid groups, through which working mothers could meet new friends and boost their mental health.

These groups could also be used as platforms for knowledge sharing, as well as providing mental health consultations and neighborhood aid, etc. Some of the working mothers could be trained as health counselors if suitable.

NGOs could also play an important role in reducing working mothers’ stress, by providing counseling services, parent-child education and training, and necessary material support.

For employers:

The Facilitators urged employers to eliminate unfavorable factors in the workplace environment, provide high-quality work protection tools and facilities, as well as better working conditions.

The companies should establish breastfeeding rooms and allow female staff to enjoy flexible working hours. They should organize regular occupational health examination services, conduct work environment examinations, and provide safety production training for employees to prevent occupational factors from harming the health of working mothers.

The private sector should also fund non-profit childcare services to relieve some of the pressure on working mothers.

For academia:

Experts and academics should study the health of working mothers, and extract and summarize health service cases.

They should promote the importance of the healthy development of working mothers.  In addition, they should provide advice to policymakers to improve the national health development plan for women and children and to create a more complete and feasible social support system.