Barriers to accessing health care services: A qualitative study of migrant construction workers in a southwestern Indian city

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BMC Health Services Research


Background: This study examined access to health care in an occupational context in an urban city of India. Many people migrate from rural areas to cities, often across Indian states, for employment prospects. The purpose of the study is to explore the barriers to accessing health care among a vulnerable group - internal migrants working in the construction sector in Manipal, Karnataka. Understanding the lay workers' accounts of access to health services can help to comprehend the diversity of factors that hinder access to health care. Methods: Individual semi-structured interviews involving 15 migrant construction workers were conducted. The study applied theory-guided content analysis to investigate access to health services among the construction workers. The adductive analysis combined deductive and inductive approaches with the aim of verifying the existing barrier theory in a vulnerable context and further developing the health care access barrier theory. Results: This study's result is a revised version of the health care access barriers model, including the dimension of trust. Three known health care access barriers - financial, cognitive and structural, as well as the new barrier (distrust in public health care services), were identified among migrant construction workers in a city context in Karnataka, India. Conclusions: Further qualitative research on vulnerable groups would produce a more comprehensive account of access to health care. The socioeconomic status behind access to health care, as well as distrust in public health services, forms focal challenges for any policymaker hoping to improve health services to match people's needs.



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