BMC Health Services Research
(Accessed 19 September 2015)
Challenges in the provision of healthcare services for migrants: a systematic review through providers’ lens
Rapeepong Suphanchaimat, Kanang Kantamaturapoj, Weerasak Putthasri, Phusit Prakongsai BMC Health Services Research 2015, 15:390 (17 September 2015)
In recent years, cross-border migration has gained significant attention in high-level policy dialogues in numerous countries. While there exists some literature describing the health status of migrants, and exploring migrants’ perceptions of service utilisation in receiving countries, there is still little evidence that examines the issue of health services for migrants through the lens of providers. This study therefore aims to systematically review the latest literature, which investigated perceptions and attitudes of healthcare providers in managing care for migrants, as well as examining the challenges and barriers faced in their practices.
A systematic review was performed by gathering evidence from three main online databases: Medline, Embase and Scopus, plus a purposive search from the World Health Organization’s website and grey literature sources. The articles, published in English since 2000, were reviewed according to the following topics: (1) how healthcare providers interacted with individual migrant patients, (2) how workplace factors shaped services for migrants, and (3) how the external environment, specifically laws and professional norms influenced their practices. Key message of the articles were analysed by thematic analysis.
Thirty seven articles were recruited for the final review. Key findings of the selected articles were synthesised and presented in the data extraction form. Quality of retrieved articles varied substantially. Almost all the selected articles had congruent findings regarding language andcultural challenges, and a lack of knowledge of a host country’s health system amongst migrant patients. Most respondents expressed concerns over in-house constraints resulting from heavy workloads and the inadequacy of human resources. Professional norms strongly influenced the behaviours and attitudes of healthcare providers despite conflicting with laws that limited right to health services access for illegal migrants.
The perceptions, attitudes and practices of practitioners in the provision of healthcare services for migrants were mainly influenced by: (1) diverse cultural beliefs and language differences, (2) limited institutional capacity, in terms of time and/or resource constraints, (3) the contradiction between professional ethics and laws that limited migrants’ right to health care. Nevertheless, healthcare providers addressedsuch problems by partially ignoring the immigrants’precarious legal status, and using numerous tactics, including seeking help from civil society groups, to support their clinical practice.
It was evident that healthcare providers faced several challenges in managing care for migrants, which included not only language and cultural barriers, but also resource constraints within their workplaces, and disharmony between the law and their professional norms. Further studies, which explore health care management for migrants in countries with different health insurance models, are recommended.
A systematic review of social, economic and diplomatic aspects of short-term medical missions
Paul Caldron, Ann Impens, Milena Pavlova, Wim Groot BMC Health Services Research 2015, 15:380 (15 September 2015)
Short-term medical missions (STMMs) represent a grass-roots form of aid, transferring medical services rather than funds or equipment. The objective of this paper is to review empirical studies on social, economic and diplomatic aspects of STMMs.
A systematic literature review was conducted by searching PubMed and EBSCOhost for articles published from 1947–2014 about medical missions to lower and middle income countries (LMICs). Publications focused on military, disaster and dental service trips were excluded. A data extraction process was used to identify publications relevant to our objective stated above.
PubMed and EBSCOhost searches provided 4138 and 3262 articles respectively for review. Most articles that provide useful information have appeared in the current millennium and are found in focused surgical journals. Little attention is paid to aspects of volunteerism, altruism and philanthropy related to STMM activity in the literature reviewed (1 article). Evidence of professionalization remains scarce, although elements including guidelines and tactical instructions have been emerging (27 articles). Information on costs (10 articles) and commentary on the relevance of market forces (1 article) are limited. Analyses of spill-over effects, i.e., changing attitudes of physicians or their communities towards aid, and characterizations of STMMs as meaningful foreign aid or strategic diplomacy are few (4 articles).
The literature on key social, economic and diplomatic aspects of STMMs and their consequences is sparse. Guidelines, tactical instructions and attempts at outcome measures are emerging that may better professionalize the otherwise unregulated activity. A broader discussion of these key aspects may lead to improved accountability and intercultural professionalism to accompany medical professionalism in STMM activity.