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Experiences and needs concerning health related information for newly arrived refugees in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Lena Mårtensson
Per Lytsy
Ragnar Westerling
Josefin Wångdahl
Published in BMC Public Health
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 1044
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Pages 1044
Language en
Links https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentr...
Keywords Asylum seekers, Health information, Health literacy, Migration, Minority groups
Subject categories Health Sciences


Background: Owing to communication challenges and a lack of knowledge about the health care system, refugees may be at risk of having limited health literacy, meaning that they will have problems in achieving, understanding, appraising and using health information or navigating in the health care system. The aim of this study was to explore experiences and needs concerning health related information for newly arrived refugees in Sweden. Methods: A qualitative design with a focus group methodology was used. The qualitative content analysis was based on seven focus group discussions, including 28 Arabic and Somali speaking refugees. Results: Four categories emerged. ‘Concrete instructions and explanations’ includes appreciation of knowledge about how to act when facing health problems. ‘Contextual knowledge’ comprises experienced needs of information about the health care system, about specific health risks and about rights in health issues. ‘A variation of sources’ describes suggestions as to where and how information should be given. ‘Enabling communication’ includes the wish for more awareness among professionals from a language and cultural point of view. Conclusion: Concrete instructions and explanations are experienced as valuable and applicable. Additional information about health issues and the health care system is needed. Information concerning health should be spread by a variety of sources. Health literate health organizations are needed to meet the health challenges of refugees, including professionals that emphasize health literacy.

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