Primary health care for Chinese and South Asians: continuous, accessible, and timely

Recent years have seen increasing concern about access to and quality of primary health care in Canada. A substantial amount of provincial and federal funding has gone into revitalizing the primary health care system. The current tools used to assess how the primary health care system works for consumers (such as questionnaires) were originally developed primarily with well-educated, English-speaking Whites of European descent. British Columbia is home to the second largest immigrant population in Canada, where approximately 50 per cent of all BC immigrants are from Asia and one in every ten cannot speak, write, or understand English. Currently, little is known about whether current assessment tools are valid across different ethno-cultural groups who may not speak English. In addition, existing assessment tools may not adequately reflect the issues and concerns about primary health care that are important to different ethno-cultural populations. Dr. Sabrina Wong is studying the dimensions of primary health care that are important to adults from two of the largest ethno-cultural groups living in BC: Chinese and South Asians, who speak Cantonese or Punjabi, respectively. Through focus groups and telephone surveys, she is identifying what dimensions are addressed in existing assessment tools, and what needs to be modified for these ethno-cultural groups. Ultimately, Dr. Wong hopes that her research will result in an assessment tool of primary health care that is equally valid and reliable across English, Cantonese, and Punjabi speaking populations.