International immigrant health access and vulnerabilities in the context of COVID-19 dissemination in Brazil
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Department of Preventive Medicine, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
PROMIGRAS - Unifesp, Brazil
Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil
Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1401
The aim is to identify the problems related to the health access and social protection of international migrants and refugees regarding the needs of this population during the pandemic of COVID-19 in Brazil. Considering the social and territorial inequalities in Brazil, the consequences of the pandemic are more severe due to critical situations of social vulnerability that intensely harm the most impoverished populations, including international migrants. This research seeks to investigate how confinement and the subsequent health crisis impacted the lives of migrants in terms of healthcare access and their vulnerability, aggravated by the pandemic. We conducted qualitative research based on Anthropology from 14 in-depth interviews and participant observation with migrants and refugees living in Sao Paulo metropolitan area. The interviews were conducted from October to December 2022 with migrants from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Haiti. Preliminary Results show that most live in vulnerable neighborhoods, enhancing structural violence. Migrants shared situations of job insecurity, struggle to maintain household income, and sometimes, cases of bare subsistence. Despite financial emergency assistance from the government, many needed help accessing it due to a lack of access to technology and bureaucratic burdens. Fake News plays an essential role in health misinformation, especially regarding vaccination. Some women interviewed commented about obstetric and domestic violence. Religion is also a resource to deal with fear and losses. Healthcare access in Brazil is universal through the Brazilian Health System (SUS). Many factors interfere with adequate access to healthcare services: cultural and linguistic differences can be a source of stigmatization, and the social vulnerability derived from an indeterminate citizenship status act as a barrier. This research can contribute to identifying problems experienced by these people and provide a map of their social and health needs, enabling the formulation of subsidies for public policies that aim to eliminate inequalities in service access.