Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants

Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants

Cultural competence can be described as the ability of understanding, communicating, and interacting efficiently with people across cultures (Schouler-Ocak et al., 2015). Cultural competence comprises the process of one’s being aware of their own view of the world based on their cultural practices and traditions as well as developing positive attitudes toward the differences in cultures of others (Allison et al., 2016). Cultural competence is an important aspect of healthcare because cultural practices directly impact health care practices (Venters et al., 2019). African immigrants often find themselves in situations of cultural dilemmas because of the differences in culture between their original areas of residence and their new ones (Price et al., 2015). Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants

The main problem witnessed on the project site is the lack of cultural competence among health care providers regarding African immigrants. This problem negatively affects the health care experience of African immigrants (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). Because of the gap in cultural competence, there is a huge disparity in the quality of health services received by the African immigrant population as compared to other population groups in the United States (Clough et al., 2013). Evidence points to the fact that the African immigrant population has a lower health score and patient outcomes as compared to other groups with less than 18% of those admitted showing improved results over the course of their recovery (World Health Organization, 2020).


Knowledge gaps existing in practice causing cultural incompetence needs to be addressed because it violated the health care sector’s goal of ensuring fairness and equality in the access to services regardless of ethnic or racial orientation (Allen et al., 2012). As the World Health Organization explains, the health care sector aims at ensuring that everyone can be as healthy as possible, including the African immigrants (World Health Organization, 2020). The lack of cultural competence among health care providers that leads to African immigrants having poor health experiences violates this goal. The solution put forth by this project is the development of a cultural training program for African immigrants. This program is aimed at equipping health care providers with the right knowledge and set of skills to address the health concerns of African immigrants. The development of a cultural competence program is important because it will help in the removal of sociocultural factors that negatively impact the health experiences of African immigrants (Omenka et al., 2020).


The number of African immigrants entering and settling in the United States increases almost every year (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). This is because African immigrants prefer moving to the United States in search of better living conditions, better employment opportunities, and better health care services (Seck, 2015). However, African immigrants have been brought up in entirely different societies with completely different cultural beliefs and practices (Allen et al., 2012).

The African immigrant group has unique health care needs and most of these needs are related to their cultural practices (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). Purnell and Fenkl (2019) reported that health care providers are not devoted to finding methods of addressing these unique health care needs of African immigrants. Omenka et al. (2020) explained that the lack of cultural competence among health care providers is a crucial contributing factor to the poor health of African immigrants. Without cultural competence training, health care providers cannot effectively tackle the health care concerns of African immigrants (Kamya, 2017).


Problem Statement

The main problem faced at the project site is the lack of cultural competence training among health care providers, specifically regarding African immigrants. The facility is a primary care clinic in Garland, Texas that attends to various groups of people and the African immigrants group is one of them. However, the African immigrant group is different in terms of their health care needs since most of their medical needs are related to their culture (Asare & Sharma, 2012). The staff has not received formal training on addressing the needs of this population; therefore, they cannot deliver health services that address the cultural, social, and linguistic needs of the African immigrant group. This results in poor health conditions for African immigrants. There are several resources available that are not being used, and this project plans to address these gaps.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the failure of health care providers to administer effective health care services to African immigrants puts the group at an increased risk of getting sick (CDC, 2021). The CDC reported that this has been clear, especially during the COVID-19 period, as many African immigrants have suffered from and died of COVID-19 (CDC, 2021). The proposed solution is the development of a cultural competence training program for the health care providers. This program is aimed at enabling the health care providers to gain the knowledge and techniques they can employ to provide quality health care services to African immigrants.

PICOT Question

In healthcare workers caring for African Immigrant groups (P), how can an effective cultural competence training program (I) compared to no training program (C) be developed to improve the resource allocation and referrals for African Immigrants (O) in less than 4 weeks (T)?

Literature Review

Search Methods

The search strategy for this project included the use of databases, search terms, and keywords. The databases included MEDLINE (PubMed), Web of Science, Google Scholar, and CINAHL Complete. The keywords used were based on the PICO framework. The participants were “African immigrants”, “African incomers”, and “African in-migrants”. The intervention was “cultural competence”, “competence in cultures”, “cultural awareness”, “intercultural competence”, “culturally responsive”, “cultural literacy”, and “culturally informed”. The outcomes were “improved health care”, “better health care”, “enhanced health”, and “raised health care status”. Boolean operators were also used to combine search terms. The search terms were combined to broaden or narrow the search results. “OR” and “AND” were the Boolean operators used. The citation list was reviewed to identify any additional studies that were eligible for inclusion. This was to ensure that no relevant studies were excluded. There was focus on the breadth and specificity of the search. Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants

Predetermined criteria for inclusion and exclusion had already been established and all the citations were reviewed against it. Various types of study designs were included, and these include systematic reviews, cross-sectional studies, and case reports and series. All included studies specifically addressed how cultural competence in the health care profession would be useful in improving the health outcomes of African immigrants or how deficiency of cultural competence among health care providers contributed to the poor health of African immigrants. The definition of cultural competency along with all its elements was based on the United States National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine, 2019). The library defines cultural competency among health care providers as the ability to collaborate effectually with individuals from different cultures to improve their health care experience and outcomes (National Library of Medicine, 2019).

The studies included also specifically compared the cultural competency of health care providers to the health outcomes and experiences of African immigrants. All potential settings, such as hospitals, clinics, community settings, and others that were related to the studies, were included. The studies included specifically had their participants as African immigrants and no other group was substituted for the participants. Studies were exempted because of the following: (a) The study population was not only African immigrants, or there was no separate reporting of the results of African immigrants. (b) The study discussed African Americans instead of African immigrants. (c) The study did not have its core focus as cultural competence among health care providers in relation to African immigrants. (d) The intervention targeted the health care system or the health care providers instead of the patients. However, no studies were excluded based on participant age or sex, or article language.

Review Synthesis

Developing the themes was founded on analysis and examination of previous studies that were related to cultural competence issues among African immigrants. The main themes that emerged include effects of cultural incompetence, how language barriers affect cultural competence, and the impact of cultural competence training on health care workers. These themes are the main points of emphasis when developing a cultural competence program for African immigrants. Focusing on these themes will guarantee the success of the cultural competence program for African immigrants.

Review of Study Methods

Most of the literature items reviewed the qualitative literature review methods to supplement the facts in their studies. The qualitative literature review research was conducted in hospital and clinical settings by assessing redacted medical records. The facts gave insight into how cultural competence affected the quality of patient outcomes among the African immigrant population. The case study aimed at identifying the percentages of hospitals and clinics that acknowledge cultural sensitivity and inclusion through cultural competence training.

Literature Themes

Effects of Cultural Incompetence

The main issue observed in the research is the lack of cultural sensitivity and competence within the health care profession regarding African immigrants. This issue has a negative impact on the healthcare received by African immigrants. Because of the disparity in cultural competence, the health care providers cannot efficiently deliver health services that cater to the cultural, social, and linguistic needs of the African immigrant patients (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). As a result, the African immigrant group is seen to have an overall health status score that is lower compared to other groups (Seck, 2015). As the World Health Organization defines, the health care sector has a goal of guaranteeing that everyone’s wellbeing is catered for as effective as possible, including African immigrants (World Health Organization, 2020). Health is determined by various social factors outside of the traditional healthcare setting (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019).


Some of these social determinants of health are housing quality, access to healthy foods, and education. Seck (2015) explained that African immigrants have unfavorable social determinants of health which contribute to their lack of quality healthcare. This leads to their poor health experiences because of the lack of understanding by health care workers regarding these social determinants of health. Lack of representation of African immigrants both in leadership and training is also responsible for the lack of cultural competence programs for African immigrants (Clough et al., 2013). Another reason for the lack of cultural incompetence regarding African immigrants is the fact that even most health care workers are White and without cultural training, it is hard for them to understand the needs of African immigrants (Seck, 2015). Even though the medical field is showing increased diversity, most people working in healthcare are not familiar with the culture of African immigrants, so they do not know how to handle this group (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019).

Cultural incompetence has had negative outcomes for African immigrant patients, such as serious health complications and even death. Clough et al. (2013) explained that, due to cultural incompetence, African immigrants are two to three times more likely to suffer from various health-related issues compared to other groups, like White people. The cultural incompetence of health care workers makes African immigrants, who are primarily Black, suffer severely and longer from easily preventable diseases. Seck (2015) reported that some of these negative outcomes are because of subconscious prejudices and implicit bias about the African immigrant group. Addressing cultural incompetence and its effects is the first step to the development of a successful cultural training program for African immigrants (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019).

Language Barriers and Cultural Competence

Language is an aspect of culture that affects the quality of treatment in African immigrant groups (Seck, 2015). Language barriers play an important role in miscommunication between patients and medical providers, which negatively affects the quality of healthcare services and patient satisfaction regarding the African immigrant group (Allison et al., 2016). Due to language barriers, health care professionals have an incomplete understanding of the situations of patients, poorly assess patients, prescribe treatment incompletely, or cause delayed treatment or misdiagnoses (Wamwayi & Murray, 2019). As a result of language barriers, African immigrants end up having decreased satisfaction with health care services, complications arising from medication, and a reduced level of understanding of their diagnosis even if they have access to healthcare (Venters et al., 2019).

All these elements lead to the reduction in the quality of health care experience of African immigrants. One way of overcoming the language barrier is through using technology to bridge the language gap between health care professionals and African immigrants (Venters et al., 2019). Health care professionals can make use of voice recognition technologies such as Google Assistant and Google Translate. These are technologies that allow for two-way interpretation and can help in transcribing and translating dictation such as a doctor’s instructions (Wamwayi & Murray, 2019). Another effective way of overcoming the language barrier is the use of online applications, such as Duolingo, which offer new ways of learning different languages. Health care professionals can use these applications which keep things simple and make learning streamlined and easier, to understand elements of the African immigrants’ language and enhance their communication (Wamwayi & Murray, 2019). Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants

Another way of overcoming the language barrier is through the use of an interpreter. The medical facilities can have interpreters specifically for African immigrant groups to enhance communication (Venters et al., 2019). The interpreter can be available physically at the medical facility and if this is not possible, technology has made it easier for the use of an interpreter using virtual platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype (Allison et al., 2016). All these techniques and technologies will help in breaking the language barrier and enhancing effective communication between African immigrants and healthcare professionals. In the long run, the quality of health care services in African immigrants will improve, hence enhancing their overall health care experience and satisfaction. Cultural Competence Training Program for African Immigrants


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