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US economic woes ripple all the way to Latin America, U-M study shows
Date:3/26/2012

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Among patients receiving less aid from relatives abroad, nearly 40 percent said they were sometimes unable to buy medications and roughly a third skipped medical visits. Others reported spending less on basic needs such as food and education.

The study was conducted in Santa Cruz de Yojoa, in North Central Honduras, among patients making non-urgent visits to primary care centers.

Remittances were most common among patients who had less education, larger families, and multiple chronic health problems including hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

All respondents reported that they had to pay 100 percent for their health care out of pocket, with no access to insurance.

The study's findings reflect U.S. employment data. Latino immigrants have been especially hard-hit during the nation's financial crisis, partly due to major job losses in housing construction, which is a leading source of employment for them. Between the end of 2007 and the end of 2008, the percentage of working-age Latinos with jobs fell at almost twice the rate for the overall population.

"Unfair labor practices, language barriers and low education levels for Central American immigrants make it likely that they will continue to face economic hardships in the U.S.," says Piette, pictured left.

"These immigrants have made astounding and noble sacrifices by sending aid to relatives in their home country despite their low wages. Those commitments may be unsustainable without a strong recovery in the U.S. economy."


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Contact: Beata Mostafavi
bmostafa@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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