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Arch Hellen Med, 37(Supplement 1), 2020, 70-80


Utilisation of health services by migrant domestic helpers in Cyprus: Αccess and barriers

M. Kantaris,1 M. Theodorou2
1Cyprus Institute of Research and Excellence in Health Services, Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus,
2Open University of Cyprus, Latsia, Nikosia, Cyprus

OBJECTIVE Τo investigate the conditions of access and use of health services for migrant domestic helpers (MDH) in Cyprus.

METHOD Three studies were conducted using semi-structured interviews with MDH (n = 13) and employers of MDH (n = 12) and structured questionnaires with MDH (n = 625). Content analysis for the qualitative findings was performed using QSR Nvivo 10, while for quantitative findings analysis was performed with Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 17.

RESULTS The findings provide information on the health needs of MDHs from different perspectives that lead to improved documentation through multiple methodological triangulation. The main reasons for using health services were blood tests, short term illnesses and injuries / poisoning, while 18% reported some kind of unmet medical need, and 10% an unmet need for medication. In case of a health problem, their first action was to seek advice and help from their employer (62%). Employers play a key "gatekeeping role", but are unable to provide sufficient and valid information and guidance to the MDHs.

CONCLUSIONS The barriers of language and communication and ignorance of the system emerge as the most important barriers. The role of the employer is crucial and has an impact on the quality of care provided to this group of migrants. Employer involvement in MDH health issues acts as a barrier and there is a significant gap between employers and MDH regarding the health needs of the latter.

Key words: Cyprus, domestic workers, access to health services, health service utilisation.

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