Search results

Your search found 11 items
Sort: Relevance | Topics | Title | Author | Publication Year
Home  / Search Results
Author(s): Kasstan, Ben
Date: 2021
Abstract: Maintaining ‘faith’ in vaccination has emerged as a public health challenge amidst outbreaks of preventable disease among religious minorities and rising claims to ‘exemption’ from vaccine mandates. Outbreaks of measles and coronavirus have been particularly acute among Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods in North America, Europe and Israel, yet no comparative studies have been conducted to discern the shared and situated influences on vaccine decision-making. This paper synthesises qualitative research into vaccine decision-making among Orthodox Jews in the United Kingdom and Israel during the 2014–15 and 2018-19 measles epidemics, and 2020–21 coronavirus pandemic. The methods integrate 66 semi-structured informal interviews conducted with parents, formal and informal healthcare practitioners, and religious leaders, as well as analysis of tailored non-vaccination advocacy events and literature. The paper argues that the discourse of ‘religious’ exemption and opposition to vaccination obscures the diverse practices and philosophies that inform vaccine decisions, and how religious law and leaders form a contingent influence. Rather than viewing religion as the primary framework through which vaccine decisions are made, Orthodox Jewish parents were more concerned with safety, trust and choice in similar ways to ‘secular’ logics of non-vaccination. Yet, religious frameworks were mobilised, and at times politicised, to suit medico-legal discourse of ‘exemption’ from coercive or mandatory vaccine policies. By conceptualising tensions around protection as ‘political immunities,’ the paper offers a model to inform social science understandings of how health, law and religion intersect in contemporary vaccine opposition.
Date: 2016
Abstract: Objective: To explore determinants of participation in breast cancer screening in orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, and to uncover their opinions and attitudes towards screening, and thereby to detect ways to optimize participation. Study design: Focus group discussions were performed during the last months of 2011 and the first half of 2012 to explore motivation to participate or not in breast cancer screening. Groups consisted of five to seven women. Inclusion criteria were: being female, considering oneself as orthodox Jewish, aged between 50 and 69 years. Results: Three focus group discussions with in a total of 20 women had taken place. All participants in the focus group discussions had a screening mammography taken on a regular base. All participants agreed that the social cohesion between Jewish orthodox women and the importance that is given to healthcare within the Jewish tradition are important contributors to their participation in a breast cancer screening program. Pain, lack of information during the exam, lack of confidence in the quality of the exam, perceived problems when the examining doctor/technician is male, and fear of the results are mentioned as barriers. The participants, however, state that these were not important enough to result in non-participation. Barriers could be diminished by information sessions specifically aimed at orthodox Jewish women. Conclusion: This qualitative research demonstrates a generally positive attitude of orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, towards mammographic breast cancer screening. Increased and repeated structured information sessions are likely to improve breast cancer awareness in this population.
Date: 2021
Abstract: Background: The importance of community involvement in the response against disease outbreaks has been well established. However, we lack insights into local communities’ experiences in coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic. This study explored both the impact of, and response to, COVID-19 within the Orthodox Jewish communities of Antwerp (Belgium) during the first lockdown period (March 2020 – May 2020).

Methods: We conducted an explorative qualitative study using a participatory approach. First, we performed a community mapping to identify relevant stakeholders. Through the active involvement of a community advisory board and based on qualitative interviews with key-informants and community members, we elicited lived experiences, attitudes, and perceptions towards COVID-19. Interviews were conducted both face-to-face and using online web conferencing technology. Data were analyzed inductively according to the principles of thematic analysis.

Results: Government-issued outbreak control measures presented context-specific challenges to the Orthodox Jewish communities in Antwerp. They related mainly to the remote organization of religious life, and practicing physical distancing in socially and culturally strongly connected communities. Key informants described how existing community resources were rapidly mobilized to adapt to the outbreak and to self-organize response initiatives within communities. This included the active involvement of community and religious leaders in risk communication, which proved to be of great importance to facilitate coverage and uptake of pandemic control measures while protecting essential community values and traditions. Creating bottom-up and community-adapted communication strategies, including addressing language barriers and involving Rabbis in the dissemination of prevention messages, fostered a feeling of trust in government’s response measures. However, unmet information and prevention needs were also identified, such as the need for inclusive communication by public authorities and the need to mitigate the negative effects of stigmatization.

Conclusion: The experiences of Orthodox Jewish communities in Antwerp demonstrate a valuable example of a feasible community-centered approach to health emergencies. Increasing the engagement of communities in local decision-making and governance structures remains a key strategy to respond to unmet information and prevention needs.
Date: 2017
Abstract: Background: The English National Health Service (NHS) has significantly extended the supply of evidence based
psychological interventions in primary care for people experiencing common mental health problems. Yet despite
the extra resources, the accessibility of services for ‘under-served’ ethnic and religious minority groups, is considerably
short of the levels of access that may be necessary to offset the health inequalities created by their different exposure
to services, resulting in negative health outcomes. This paper offers a critical reflection upon an initiative that sought
to improve access to an NHS funded primary care mental health service to one ‘under-served’ population, an
Orthodox Jewish community in the North West of England.

Methods: A combination of qualitative and quantitative data were drawn upon including naturally occurring data,
observational notes, e-mail correspondence, routinely collected demographic data and clinical outcomes measures, as
well as written feedback and recorded discussions with 12 key informants.

Results: Improvements in access to mental health care for some people from the Orthodox Jewish community were
achieved through the collaborative efforts of a distributed leadership team. The members of this leadership team
were a self-selecting group of stakeholders which had a combination of local knowledge, cultural understanding,
power to negotiate on behalf of their respective constituencies and expertise in mental health care. Through a process
of dialogic engagement the team was able to work with the community to develop a bespoke service that
accommodated its wish to maintain a distinct sense of cultural otherness.

Conclusions: This critical reflection illustrates how dialogic engagement can further the mechanisms of candidacy,
concordance and recursivity that are associated with improvements in access to care in under-served sections of the
population, whilst simultaneously recognising the limits of constructive dialogue. Dialogue can change the dynamic of
community engagement. However, the full alignment of the goals of differing constituencies may not always be
possible, due the complex interaction between the multiple positions and understandings of stakeholders that are
involved and the need to respect the other’-s’ autonomy.
Date: 2008
Abstract: Objective To assess reasons for low uptake of immunization amongst orthodox Jewish families.
Design Qualitative interviews with 25 orthodox Jewish mothers and 10 local health care workers.
Setting The orthodox Jewish community in North East London.
Main outcome measures Identification of views on immunization in the orthodox Jewish community.
Results In a community assumed to be relatively insulated from direct media influence, word of mouth is nevertheless a potent source of rumours about vaccination dangers. The origins of these may lie in media scares that contribute to anxieties about MMR. At the same time, close community cohesion leads to a sense of relative safety in relation to tuberculosis, with consequent low rates of BCG uptake. Thus low uptake of different immunizations arises from enhanced feelings of both safety and danger. Low uptake was not found to be due to the practical difficulties associated with large families, or to perceived insensitive cultural practices of health care providers.
Conclusions The views and practices of members of this community are not homogeneous and may change over time. It is important that assumptions concerning the role of religious beliefs do not act as an obstacle for providing clear messages concerning immunization, and community norms may be challenged by explicitly using its social networks to communicate more positive messages about immunization. The study provides a useful example of how social networks may reinforce or challenge misinformation about health and risk and the complex nature of decision making about children's health.