University of Twente Student Theses


Access to Health Care for Refugee Children and Unaccompanied Minor Aliens in The Netherlands: A Qualitative Study

Fathi Afshar, Sogol (2019) Access to Health Care for Refugee Children and Unaccompanied Minor Aliens in The Netherlands: A Qualitative Study.

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Abstract:Background: In The Netherlands, refugee children and unaccompanied minor aliens (UMAs) are a vulnerable group and health professionals perceive many challenges to provide them with appropriate care. This study aims to understand the perceived barriers of access to care, the experiences, and the needs of health care among refugee children and UMAs. Two linked studies were conducted to explore these issues through the lens of refugee parents, UMAs, and health professionals. Methods: Two qualitative methods were employed: semi-structured focus group discussions with UMAs (n = 8) and parents of refugee children (n = 23), and semi-structured interviews with health professionals (n = 6). Transcripts of focus groups were inductively analysed and those of the interviews were deductively analysed using Levesque, Harris, and Russell's (2013) access to care framework. Results: The results show that refugee parents highlighted key barriers to connect with healthcare services and to reach them in a timely manner. Cultural understanding of illnesses and the Dutch health system and poor health literacy influenced one’s health-seeking behaviour and decision-making regarding health treatments negatively. Poor communication between healthcare services and a lack of human resources led to postponed care for refugee children. Additionally, refugees expressed a need for physical screening and mental care based on their country of origin, (pre-)war situation, and migration journey. Conclusion: Overall, this studies’ findings show that poor access to care is perceived to have consequences concerning the appropriateness of care, and care to be reached in a timely manner. The evidence yielded from this study, suggests that more attention needs to be paid for refugee children and UMAs concerning physical screening and mental care, improving cultural understanding of illnesses and the Dutch health system, shortage of human resources of services that provide refugee care, and the communication between these services. In turn, the aforementioned will improve access to care for refugee children and UMAs.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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