Assessing the impact of Migration and Integration on the Health of African : An in-depth interview conducted in the city of Linköping with African immigrants who have lived in Sweden for between 5 to 20 years and more

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för hälsa och samhälle

Abstract:

There is an on going debate in academia on the health of immigrants in their host countries. Many studies have indicated that immigrants tend to have poor health as compared to the native born population. Researchers in this field however hold divergent views on the causes of the poor health of immigrants. One school of thought attributes poor health of immigrants to premigration period. The contenders of this theory argue that during this period immigrants experience and are subjected to hardships which will affect their health later on in their lives. On the other hand, some researchers view post migration period as an ultimate determinant of the poor health of immigrants in their host country. These researchers ascertain that during this

period immigrants are faced with many challenges of adaptation and most often lack good integration in their host countries which hampers their health.

The aim of this study is to explore and describe the impact of migration and integration on the health of African immigrants in the Swedish society. A combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods was used to collect and analyze data with the help of the “triangulation “technique. A structured questionnaire was used as a guideline to the in-depth interviews conducted with African immigrants who have lived in Sweden for a period of five to twenty

years and plus. Twentyfive African immigrants from fourteen African countries took part in this research. This study was conducted in the city of Linköping in Sweden.

Results from this study revealed that majority of African immigrants self rated their health as being good. Many affirm to be in good health. However, a majority of African immigrants reported psychosomatic symptoms such as stress, fatigue, and other illnesses such as high blood pressure, and diabetes. It was also observed that African immigrants hardly seek medical help except when necessary. Health as defined by immigrants is “a combination of physical and

mental well being”,” health is ” happiness and joy”, health is “self realization and self esteem”, health is “vitality”, Health is a “sine qua non condition to good life”. However mastery of the Swedish language, and flexible opportunities, which will enable immigrants to access the labor market and be self-sufficient, may improve the immigrants health condition. Also integration of immigrants’ health professionals in the Swedish health care system may be a vital tool to

encourage immigrants to seek health attention and improve their health condition.

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