Self-rated health and health problems of undocumented immigrant women in the Netherlands: a descriptive study

J Public Health Policy. 2009 Dec;30(4):409-22. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2009.32.


In this descriptive study, 100 female undocumented immigrants aged > or =18 years were interviewed about their health condition. The objective was to gain insight into the health situation and specific health problems of undocumented women. Sixty-five per cent of these undocumented women rated their health as 'poor' (moderate or bad) and 91 per cent spontaneously mentioned having current health problems. When provided with a list of 26 common health problems, subjects reported on average 11.1 complaints. Gynaecological and psychological complaints were very prevalent, but seldom mentioned spontaneously. Also obstetric problems were numerous. Undocumented women may not present important symptoms to physicians when they encounter them. We conclude that physicians should actively ask about psychological and gynaecological problems in this patient group. Special training on the health problems of undocumented female immigrants for health providers is recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigration and Immigration / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Pregnancy
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult