More work with migrant communities is being suggested to help counter some health concerns in Peterborough.
The Annual Health Protection report, which was presented to senior health officials, showcased concerns around Tuberculosis (TB) as well as sexual health services and screening for bowel and cervical cancer.
We have tried with vulnerable communities to remove the stigma and fear of diagnosis.Dr Anne McConville
The report highlighted that number of people in the city who are diagnosed with TB is three times the regional average.
It was stated that a number of these cases are believed to relate to the high prevalence of TB in
the home countries of new migrants.
With regards to cancer screening, the report said there was a wide variation of uptake. This was partly explained due to cultural and language barriers as well as chaotic lifestyles.
More work is also being called on understand the impact of new migrant communities regarding childhood immunisations.
The final concern, regarding sexual health services, stated that teenage pregnancies were too high, that diagnosis of HIV infections were too late and that not enough people were being tested for chlamydia.
Introducing the report yesterday (Thursday, March 26) Dr Anne McConville, interim consultant in public health, said: “We have tried with vulnerable communities to remove the stigma and fear of diagnosis.
“We do not routinely take data from ethnic groups. We need to engage them in a conversation as there are barriers.
“Small samples of surverys might enable us to come up with some sensible suggestions - things like maybe texting them to offer a test.
“It’s about understanding and engaging.”
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, director for communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “We are training people to help us understand the differences.
“We are finding it difficult to get in communities.
“If we turned our focus on the health areas we are most concerned about it will show whether it’s worth investing or not.”
Dr Liz Robin, director for public health at the city council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “In Fenland we have done work with groups on smoking and we got some on pointers on ways that would work.”
It was also stated that teenage pregnancies are still too high in Peterborough despite being on the decline.
Dr McConville said: “Pregnancy rates are declining but not declining as fast as the rest of England.”
Ms Ogle-Welbourn added: “Compared to other places we need to up the pace.”