The COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on health systems, affecting populations’ use of health services, especially those experiencing increased difficulties in healthcare access, as some migrant groups. This study aimed to investigate access and use of health services during the COVID-19 pandemic among migrants in Portugal. A mixed-methods approach was used. A community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted involving migrant communities residing in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. Analyses of a subsample of participants (n = 929) examined factors associated with perceived worsening of access to health services during the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews with 14 migrants were conducted and thematically analyzed to further understand experiences and difficulties in health services’ use. Around 44% of surveyed participants reported worsening of access to health services since the pandemic, more frequently women, those with lower income, and those who perceived being at moderate or high risk for COVID-19 infection. Digital change in services and lack of formal and informal support during lockdowns were highlighted by interviewers as main barriers in access to healthcare for migrants. The pandemic renewed concerns about inequalities in healthcare access among migrants. It is key that in following years health systems are able to address the potential accumulated burden of disease.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2022|
- COVID-19 pandemic
- health services utilization
- healthcare inequalities