[Research] Health Care Experiences and Perceived Barriers to Health Care Access: A Qualitative Study Among African Migrants in Guangzhou >>EXCERPT<<

By Lavinia Lin & eleven more authors (2014) Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

Micro-review: So far, perhaps the only study dealing with health issues amongst the African population in Guangzhou. The article presents an interesting approach to some of the obstacles and difficulties that Africans in Guangzhou confront when faced with the local health care system. As noted in the article, this study is an important effort/contribution to look into international migrants access to health services beyond Western settings. One of the main arguments of this 12-authors article is that ‘overall, African migrants experience various barriers to accessing health care and (are) dissatisfied with local health services’ (p.6). Indeed, a critical issue underscored by this study is the fact that many Africans (with irregular migratory statuses) do not get proper healthcare, as they fear being prosecuted or deported. In a passing, but important, remark, the authors draw a comparison between the vulnerabilities and issues faced by some Africans in the city, and those faced by some Chinese internal migrants – further adding to the idea, posed by Lan (2014) and Castillo (2015), that the similarities in the experiences of internal and international migrants in China need further consideration/comparison. By way of a conclusion, the authors suggest that in order to provide more appropriate health care services for the African population in Guangzhou, ‘China can consider following the Europe example of the legislation of the right to health to migrants, irrespective of their status’ (p.7). Finally, while the authors suggest several further quantitative research avenues (such as the analysis of behaviours and outcomes in relation to personal health practices and perceived health status) among Africans in the city, it would be very interesting to see a follow-up piece of research analysing to what extent the issues presented by this study are limited to the African population – or if these issues are also experienced by other foreigners in China. Also, further exploration is needed to find out whether some of the issues mentioned by interviewees are caused by (infra)structural problems/failures in the Chinese health care system, or by prejudices against foreigners. Moreover, more thoughts are needed as to what is the feasibility of China following the ‘Europe example’ of providing health care to migrants, specially in a context in which Africans (and other foreigners on the move in China) are mostly considered as transient, rather than long term (permanent) populations. Rating: ★★★★✩✩

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