Risk factors and current health-seeking patterns of migrants in northeastern Mexico: Healthcare needs for a socially vulnerable population

Philippe Stoesslé, Francisco González-Salazar, Jesús Santos-Guzmán, Nydia Sánchez-González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This study identified risk factors for health and access to healthcare services of migrants during their journey across Mexico to the United States. Data were collected in shelters located in Monterrey, the largest city of northeastern Mexico, through a basic clinical examination and a survey completed by 75 migrants; 92% of them were undocumented Central Americans. During their transit, they are at a high risk of contracting, developing, and transmitting diseases. The need of working to survive affects health-seeking behavior and a constant fear of being traced keeps migrants away from public health services, which delays diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Negligent lifestyles, such as smoking, drinking (31.8% of men and 11.1% of women), and drug abuse (13% of men and 11% of women), were found. Regarding tuberculosis (TB), undocumented migrants are usually not screened, even though they come from countries with a high TB burden. Besides, they might be overexposed to TB because of their living conditions in overcrowded places with deficient hygiene, protection, and malnutrition (54.7% of the sample). Possible comorbidities like acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS; 4%) and diabetes (2.7%, but probably under-diagnosed) were referred. Migrants have little TB knowledge, which is independent of their level of education or a previous experience of deportation. About one-third of the migrants were totally unfamiliar with TB-related symptoms, while 36% had correct knowledge of basic TB symptoms. We conclude that a shortage of information on the highly vulnerable migratory population combined with a lack of social support and health education among migrants may play a significant role in the spread of communicable diseases. We recommend that health authorities address this urgent, binational, public health concern in order to prevent outbreaks of emerging infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number191
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume3
Issue numberAUG
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2015

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Vulnerable Populations
Mexico
Tuberculosis
Delivery of Health Care
Health
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
United States Public Health Service
Social Conditions
Hygiene
Health Education
Malnutrition
Social Support
Drinking
Fear
Substance-Related Disorders
Disease Outbreaks
Communicable Diseases
Life Style
Comorbidity
Public Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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title = "Risk factors and current health-seeking patterns of migrants in northeastern Mexico: Healthcare needs for a socially vulnerable population",
abstract = "This study identified risk factors for health and access to healthcare services of migrants during their journey across Mexico to the United States. Data were collected in shelters located in Monterrey, the largest city of northeastern Mexico, through a basic clinical examination and a survey completed by 75 migrants; 92{\%} of them were undocumented Central Americans. During their transit, they are at a high risk of contracting, developing, and transmitting diseases. The need of working to survive affects health-seeking behavior and a constant fear of being traced keeps migrants away from public health services, which delays diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Negligent lifestyles, such as smoking, drinking (31.8{\%} of men and 11.1{\%} of women), and drug abuse (13{\%} of men and 11{\%} of women), were found. Regarding tuberculosis (TB), undocumented migrants are usually not screened, even though they come from countries with a high TB burden. Besides, they might be overexposed to TB because of their living conditions in overcrowded places with deficient hygiene, protection, and malnutrition (54.7{\%} of the sample). Possible comorbidities like acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS; 4{\%}) and diabetes (2.7{\%}, but probably under-diagnosed) were referred. Migrants have little TB knowledge, which is independent of their level of education or a previous experience of deportation. About one-third of the migrants were totally unfamiliar with TB-related symptoms, while 36{\%} had correct knowledge of basic TB symptoms. We conclude that a shortage of information on the highly vulnerable migratory population combined with a lack of social support and health education among migrants may play a significant role in the spread of communicable diseases. We recommend that health authorities address this urgent, binational, public health concern in order to prevent outbreaks of emerging infections.",
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Risk factors and current health-seeking patterns of migrants in northeastern Mexico: Healthcare needs for a socially vulnerable population. / Stoesslé, Philippe; González-Salazar, Francisco; Santos-Guzmán, Jesús; Sánchez-González, Nydia.

In: Frontiers in Public Health, Vol. 3, No. AUG, 191, 06.08.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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