Health Concerns and Healthcare Accessibility of Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers in the United States
Weatherhead, Jill E.
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Each year the number of immigrants in the United States increases. Many of these immigrants are of Hispanic decent, coming to participate as a migrant or seasonal farm worker in the United States Agricultural System in the hopes of sustaining a stable life for their families back home. However, an abundance of obstacles stand in the way of prosperity for these workers. The agricultural system has become dependent on these hired hands to plant and harvest sensitive crops like fruits and vegetables. But, with the influx of workers, there has been an increase in competition causing the lifestyle of the workers to be severely effected. Many workers live below the United State's poverty line, have unsanitary living conditions and a lack of work protection. As a result, the health standards of migrant and seasonal farm workers and their dependents has depleted to unhealthy levels. Migrant and seasonal farm workers suffer from severe infectious diseases, pesticide poisoning, advanced stages of cancer, nutritional deficiencies, and depleted oral, reproductive, pediatric and mental health. Current aide is being provided to the underserved population by the federal government, state governments and private organizations. But with the numerous barriers that impede health care availability for this population, the supplemental programs that have been established have not provided the needed aide. As a result, more data needs to be collected in order to gain a better assessment of the migrant farm worker community. With this data, the problem could be solved at the root and the migrant and seasonal farm workers may no longer be one of the most medically underrepresented communities in the United States.