Exploring The Migration Profiles of Primary Healthcare Users in South Africa

Vearey, J., de Gruchy T., Kamndaya M., Walls L. H., Chetty-Makkan M. C., and Hanefeld, J. (2016) Exploring The Migration Profiles of Primary Healthcare Users in South Africa. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health [DOI:10.1007/s10903-016-0535-7]

South  Africa’s  public  healthcare  system responses seldom engage  with migration. Our exploratory study investigates  migration  profiles  and  experiences  of primary  healthcare  (PHC)  users.  A  cross-sectional  survey involving  non-probability  sampling  was  conducted  with 229  PHC  users  at  six  purposively  selected  PHC  clinics in three  districts of  SA. The  survey captured socio-demographic  information,  migration  histories,  and  PHC  experiences. Chi  square and  Fischer’s  exact  tests  were used  to compare  categorical  variables,  whilst Mann–Whitney  U tests compared continuous variables between groups. Most PHC users  were  migrants  (22% internal South  African; 45%  cross-border)  who  generally  move  for  reasons  other than  healthcare  seeking. Length  of time  accessing  services at a specifc clinic was shown to be key in describing experiences of PHC use. Understanding population movement  is  central  to  PHC  strengthening  in  SA  and  requires improved understanding of mobility dynamics in regard to not just nationality, but also internal mobility and length of stay.

About Jo Vearey

Jo Vearey is an Associate Professor and the Director of the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand. She holds an Honorary Fellowship with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for Peace, Development and Democracy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2015, Jo was awarded a Humanities and Social Science Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. Jo holds a MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM, 2003), a PhD in Public Health (Wits, 2010), and has been rated by the National Research Foundation as a Young Researcher. In 2014 and 2015, Jo received a Friedel Sellschop Award from the University of the Witwatersrand for outstanding young researchers. She was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in 2013, at the UNESCO Chair on Social and Spatial Inclusion of Migrants, University of Venice (SSIM-IUAV), Venice, Italy.

With a commitment to social justice and the development of pro-poor policy responses, Jo’s research explores international, regional, national and local responses to migration, health, and urban vulnerabilities. Her research interests focus on urban health, public health, migration and health, the social determinants of health, HIV, informal settlements and sex work. Jo is particularly interested in knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation including the use of visual and arts-based methodologies.

Jo has a range of international collaborations, including an ESRC-NRF funded project with the University of Edinburgh, a WOTRO funded project with the VU University, Amsterdam on migration and sex work, and partnerships with the University of Massachusetts Boston and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine‘s Faculty of Public Health and Policy and Gender, Violence and Health Unit.

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