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Health services: knowledge, use and satisfaction of Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi settlers in Australia

This paper reports the findings of a study examining the knowledge of, use of and satisfaction with local primary healthcare services reported by new arrivals to Australia from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. The study sample consisted of a purposive sample of 98 new settlers from the selected countries and used a semi-structured questionnaire and focus groups to attain information. Key findings were that friends and family were the greatest sources of health provider information and there was a lack of both more general health information and understanding of the health system. While study participants were able to access primary healthcare services and were generally satisfied, several major operational deficiencies were reported. General practitioners (GPs) were the major health providers for these groups. Health-seeking behaviours were strongly influenced by the country of birth in comparison with the other examined factors, and experiences of health service encounters also varied greatly between countries of birth. The facility’s proximity to the participant’s home was a strong influence in the selection of health services. The researchers recommend that a network of appropriately supported and staffed community health centres and/ or GP clinics is needed in areas where there are high concentrations of refugees and immigrants.

Author(s): Andrea Neale, Jamileh Abu-Duhou, Jim Black, Beverley-Ann Biggs

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