This research explored the underlying mechanisms behind ethnic differences in the use and experience of child healthcare services via econometric approaches. The analysis focussed on a range of factors, encompassing mobility, socio-economic status, mother and child characteristics, household characteristics and other social aspects. This was conducted at each data time point that was then available, which included antenatal, 9 months, 2 years and 4 years post-birth.

Kind findings:

  • There is consistent evidence that Asian and Pacific people have a higher likelihood of child immunisation relative to NZ Europeans and Māori. This was evident at their 15 month and four years immunisations, as well as their mothers’ antenatal intention. The one-time point where Pacific people had a lower rate relative to NZ European was for receiving all first-year immunisations on time.
  • Social factors play a role. This included discouragement or encouragement regarding child immunisation. When broken down by source, discouragement by family members has the largest marginal effect, followed by health professionals; whereas for encouragement, medical professionals have the largest positive influence.
  • Perceived ethnically motivated discrimination by a health professional was significant with respect to reducing the likelihood of someone achieving their first choice Lead Maternity Carer (LMC), and also reducing satisfaction levels with child’s GP.
  • Some ethnic gaps were unexplained, despite the wealth of factors employed as independent variables in the analysis. This included understanding why Pacific mothers are much less likely to achieve their first choice LMC compared with NZ Europeans; and also understanding the ethnic gaps for both Māori and Pacific peoples relative to NZ Europeans concerning dental service use.
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