Black African migrants: the barriers with accessing and utilizing health promotion services in the UK

Eur J Public Health. 2013 Apr;23(2):265-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cks063. Epub 2012 Jun 8.


Background: The inequalities for different ethnicities and social classes in accessing health services is well documented, but although a number of recent policy developments have aimed to tackle health inequalities, very little is known about the experiences of Black African migrant communities in accessing health promotion information and services. The aim of the study were to examine the experiences of Black African migrant families in accessing health promotion services.

Methods: A convenience sample of 90 Black African migrants in the north of England participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected utilizing a self-administered questionnaire in Arabic, English, French and Swahili. The findings were analysed using descriptive analysis and a variation of the constant comparative method. Themes and categories were identified across transcripts and appropriate quotations have been used to illustrate themes.

Results: Major findings that emerged from the analysis showed that participants were concerned about their insufficient ability to communicate, which appeared to undermine their capacity to access health promotion services. Lack of literacy and proficiency in English was perceived as an underlying problem in seeking health promotion information and support.

Conclusions: The findings have a number of implications for health promotion practitioners; in particular, the need to work collaboratively with migrant groups in order to identify and develop appropriate cultural sensitive communication strategies. The study concludes by suggesting the need to explore further the communication needs of migrant families and the implications for the take-up of health promotion services.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Blacks / psychology*
  • Communication Barriers*
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*
  • Young Adult