Investigating the role of intercultural mediators in enhancing asylum-seeking migrants’ access to health care services in Serbia

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Migrants are especially susceptible to inequitable access to health care services and their access to health care may be further compromised by the tradition of informal patient payments in the Western Balkan countries. As a particularly vulnerable group, this study focused on the asylum-seeking migrants and the role of informal patient payments as an avenue for migrants’ health care access in Serbia. Qualitative interviews were conducted in August and September of 2018 with civil servants (intercultural mediators and information workers, n = 8) and asylum-seeking migrants (n = 6). Data was analyzed using the phenomenological hermeneutical approach. The study showed that intercultural mediators had a pivotal role in shaping better and quicker access to health care services for asylum-seeking migrants in Serbia, which also lowered their exposure to informal patient payments. A commonness in paying informally was found in Serbia, especially due to the high value put into doctors and the lacking resources of the health care system. The asylum-seeking migrants seemed exempted from such payments. Reducing these informal patient payments for health care is highly important to facilitate equity in access to health care
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Services Research & Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

ID: 384345929