Primary Care Networks and Eritrean Immigrants’ Experiences with Health Care Professionals in Switzerland: A Qualitative Approach

Author(s) : Carla Wallimann, Andreas Balthasar

Source :


« Growing migration in European countries has simultaneously increased cultural diversity in health care. Migrants’ equal access to health care systems and migrant friendly health care have therefore become relevant topics. Findings gathered in recent years have mainly focussed on the perspective of care providers, whereas this study includes migrant perspectives. It explores the primary care network of Eritrean immigrants in Switzerland as well as their experiences of interacting with health professionals. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with intercultural interpreters from Eritrea were conducted. On the basis of a thematic analysis, the study identified the important informal and formal contacts in these Eritrean immigrants’ primary care networks and the specific forms of support each actor provides. In this network, encounters with health professionals were predominately expressed positively. The main barriers reported were language difficulties and intercultural understanding. On the basis of the participants’ statements, six key lessons for practice have been derived. These lessons are specifically important for facilitating Eritrean immigrants’ access to the Swiss health care system. Nevertheless, they are also relevant for other groups of migrants in European countries. »

Keywords: migrant health; primary care; network; health professionals; transcultural competence

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