Barriers to health care access among undocumented migrant women in Norway.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSociety, Health and Vulnerability. 2015, 6 (1), 10.3402/shv.v6.28668
The aim of this study was to explore undocumented migrant women’s subjective experiences of their health conditions and access to health care. The study is based on eight qualitative interviews with undocumented migrant women and eight qualitative interviews with health personnel at a health center for undocumented migrants in Oslo. The women were recruited by self-selection from patients at the health center. Both the women and the health professionals related the women’s health problems to their living conditions. Even though all of the women had extremely difficult living situations, their living conditions varied. Some lived in an apartment with a partner. Some had to move among the homes of various friends and had to be out all day while those friends were at work. The women with paid work had more structured daily lives than the others, with living situations that gave them some opportunities for rest and privacy. Domestic work in the black market for labor was associated with health problems due to the heavy and repetitive tasks performed while cleaning private homes. Limited rights to health care, fear of being reported, financial difficulties and poor language skills were mentioned as barriers to health care. These barriers lead to delay in seeking medical care and use of alternative health-seeking strategies. Factors that indirectly affected the health of the women included a lack of knowledge of both their rights and the available services in Norway. The pregnant women were unaware of their right to receive prenatal care.