The healthcare offer for migrant women needs to be improved

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The healthcare offer for migrant women needs to be improved


Switzerland has a quality health system, but access to care remains limited for certain groups of the population, according to a study.


women who immigrated to Switzerland use certain health services, particularly screening, less often than the rest of the population, although they suffer more frequently from chronic diseases, a study reveals.


© Keystone/archive
women who immigrated to Switzerland use certain health services, particularly screening, less often than the rest of the population, although they suffer more frequently from chronic diseases, a study reveals.


The provision of care for migrant women and information on this subject is likely to improve in Switzerland. This is the finding of an international study led by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) of the University of Bern.

Switzerland has a quality health system, but access to health care remains limited for certain groups of the population. Thus, women who have immigrated to Switzerland use certain health services, particularly screening, less often than the rest of the population although they suffer more frequently from chronic diseases, the Bernese Alma Mater said in a press release.

The study MIWOCA (Migrant Women’s Health Care Needs for Chronic Illness Services in Switzerland) consisted of bringing together the experiences of women with chronic diseases resulting from immigration in order to show how they experience access to healthcare in Switzerland and to deduce proposals for ‘improvement.

Initially, 48 interviews were carried out in Bern and Geneva with each time 12 women from Germany, Turkey, Portugal and Switzerland. Once the interviews were analyzed, the participants were grouped into working groups in order to provide feedback on the results.

The participants’ perspective was also supplemented by 12 interviews carried out with specialists from the medico-social world in Bern and Geneva. Finally, the participants also played a key role during the third phase of the project within the framework of three multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Ten recommendations

Ten concrete areas were identified from the data collected. During the interviews with the women concerned, it became evident in particular that the information situation on the Swiss health system was insufficient for people with chronic diseases who have just arrived in Switzerland.

This aspect was addressed during dialogues with general practitioners, specialists, health insurance funds, patient associations, various NGOs, the Federal Office of Public Health, the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Health, the Secretariat of State for migration as well as the Swiss Conference of Social Action Institutions.

Other recommendations concern simplified access to healthcare providers, the targeted promotion of relationships of trust between healthcare professionals and patients, or even better consideration of patients and their resources in decisions relating to treatment. .

The study was carried out by ISPM in collaboration with the Universities of Geneva, Tübingen and Istanbul and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation as part of the national research program PNR 74 (Health system).

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