Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Voices from an Afghan Community

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Voices from an Afghan Community

Article excerpt

Abstract: A major role of the community health nurse is advocating to meet the needs of population groups. This article describes how community health nurses utilized two assessment tools, a windshield survey, a semi-structured interview protocol, and the Healthy People 2000 National Health Objectives to collect pertinent information and recommend program strategies at the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention levels to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence in an Afghan community.

Key Words: Afghan Community; Windshield Survey with Afghan Community; Reduction of Domestic Violence; Web of Causation Model

Community health nurses assess, diagnose, and offer solutions to problems that face a population. An assessment of a community enables the nurse to identify the magnitude of the problems and the extent of community concern. Although, one may recognize the need to gain additional information about the target population, more often, the nurse is not afforded the time or funds to conduct a full scale community assessment of the assigned geographical area and the population group. The use of two structured data collection tools, a windshield survey instrument and an interview protocol assist the nurse in identifying the needs of a community (Anderson & McFarlane, 1988). In an effort to learn more about Afghan immigrants and their families, an assessment was conducted on the Afghan population residing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Approximately 20,000 Afghans living in the TriCity area of Fremont, Union City, and Newark, located southeast of San Francisco, California, make it the largest immigrant Afghan population in the United States. Issues related to unemployment, insufficient financial resources, lack of health education, and the language barrier prevent this population group from receiving adequate health care and place the Afghan population at risk for developing health problems.

Tabulated demographic data for this population group are not available, however, a key community informant reported that one Fremont Census Tract has a dense population of Afghan residents. This selected census tract has a total population of 8,012, and approximately 3,000 are Afghan residents. It is identified by a census tract number and like other census tracts in the city of Fremont, does not have a name or identity. The two physical boundaries of the census tract are Decoto Road and Freeway 880. A natural boundary, the Alameda Creek Regional Trail, separates this area from Union City. There are no commercial businesses near the boundaries.

METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION

Portions of the data were obtained from several windshield surveys. The windshield survey is a most necessary familiarization assessment (Anderson & McFarlane,1988 ). This type of survey allows the nurse to gather firsthand knowledge of the community. The surveys consisted of viewing the community from a car windshield to observe the overall activities of the people on various days and at various times of the week . Surveyors also observed for the presence or absence of several features of the community, such as housing, open space, transportation, stores, recreation centers, signs of decay, etc. During these surveys, information and literature were also obtained from the health, social and governmental agencies in the community. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants of Afghan heritage. These persons held such positions as elementary school teacher, retired doctor, coordinator of the Afghan Center, founder of the Afghan Women's Association International, and coordinator of the Afghan Elderly Women's Group. Two community health nurses, employed by the local county health department, were also interviewed. All key informants were asked questions about the history of the community, patterns of communication in the community such as newspapers, community bulletin boards, neighborhood newsletters, community strengths and community problems (Anderson & McFarland, 1988). …

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