209044 Community Based Participatory Research to Evaluate Access to Healthcare for Migrants in Belize: A Qualitative Research Study

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Amanda M. Terry, MA , Department of Applied Anthropology and College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
In Belize, Central America, migrant farmworkers toil long hours in dangerous jobs for the agricultural industry but are excluded from healthcare since the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan was instituted, which covers only Belizean citizens and residents.

During the summer 2008, I proposed an internship to evaluate access to healthcare for migrants in the rural district of Stann Creek, Belize. Issues of concern included a lack of safe water and sanitary infrastructure, inadequate clinics, and a lack of access to healthcare for migrants. Instead, the Ministry of Health desired an evaluation of satisfaction with the NHI plan. In order to achieve my goals and my sponsor's I conducted exploratory qualitative research, utilizing the CBPR method. Forming partnerships with local community nurses and leaders, open ended surveys, key informant interviews, and evaluations of health clinics were conducted throughout Stann Creek. Utilizing all interview and survey responses, I designed an instrument that measures satisfaction with NHI but also addresses community concerns and infrastructure issues, including access to clean water. Access to healthcare for migrant workers was addressed by including them in the research, including their responses as choices in the instrument, and addressing their concerns in a report to the Ministry. Through this process, I learned it is important to be flexible in the field, include the community as a partner, and give vulnerable populations a voice. The instrument created through this research has been adopted by the Ministry of Health as part of its new patient intake procedure for Belize.

Learning Objectives:
1) Evaluate access to healthcare and quality of life resources for migrant workers in rural Belize. 2) Assess community health and infrastructure concerns including access to clean water.

Keywords: Access to Care, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in Applied Anthropology and a MPH student in Global Health Practice focusing in issues of migration and access to healthcare. This project was undertaken as an International Field Experience requirement for my Masters degree.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
University of South Florida Global Health Employment (includes retainer) and Student

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.