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15.06.2017 | Ausgabe 6/2017

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 6/2017

“In My Culture, We Don’t Know Anything About That”: Sexual and Reproductive Health of Migrant and Refugee Women

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Ausgabe 6/2017
Autoren:
Christine Metusela, Jane Ussher, Janette Perz, Alexandra Hawkey, Marina Morrow, Renu Narchal, Jane Estoesta, Melissa Monteiro

Abstract

Purpose

Migrant and refugee women are at risk of negative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes due to low utilisation of SRH services. SRH is shaped by socio-cultural factors which can act as barriers to knowledge and influence access to healthcare. Research is needed to examine constructions and experiences of SRH in non-English-speaking migrant and refugee women, across a range of cultural groups.

Method

This qualitative study examined the constructions and experiences of SRH among recent migrant and refugee women living in Sydney, Australia, and Vancouver, Canada. A total of 169 women from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, India, Sri Lanka and South America participated in the study, through 84 individual interviews, and 16 focus groups comprised of 85 participants. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results

Three themes were identified: “women’s assessments of inadequate knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and preventative screening practices”, “barriers to sexual and reproductive health” and “negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes”. Across all cultural groups, many women had inadequate knowledge of SRH, due to taboos associated with constructions and experiences of menstruation and sexuality. This has implications for migrant and refugee women’s ability to access SRH education and information, including contraception, and sexual health screening, making them vulnerable to SRH difficulties, such as sexually transmissible infections and unplanned pregnancies.

Conclusion

It is essential for researchers and health service providers to understand socio-cultural constraints which may impede SRH knowledge and behaviour of recent migrant and refugee women, in order to provide culturally safe SRH education and services that are accessible to all women at resettlement irrespective of ethnicity or migration category.

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