Health seeking behaviors among Syrian refugee women: A scoping review

Areej Al-Hamad, Cheryl Forchuk, Abe Oudshoorn, Gerald McKinley


Objective: The aim of this scoping review was to explore what is known about the health seeking behaviors among Syrian refugee women within hospital and community settings. The objectives were to explore health seeking behaviors of Syrian refugee women and highlight specific issues that are important to Syrian refugee women related to seeking for health care. In addition, to uncover potential obstacles/barriers that face Syrian refugee women while seeking for health care.

Methods: Arksey and O’Malley (2005) framework for scoping review was utilized to guide the review process and to explore health seeking behaviors of Syrian refugee women. Various databases such as, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO, Science direct and SocINDEX were utilized in the review. The search strategy consisted of broad queries, in the title, abstract, full texts and keyword fields. The search included studies published from 2011 on, that is, from the time the Syrian conflict started (March 2011) and were limited to those in the English language. Thematic analysis was undertaken to synthesize extracted data.

Results: A total of 19 studies were selected for this review. The data from this review were organized along two thematic categories (accessibility of health care services) and (awareness of health care needs and available health care services). Accessibility of health care services was the most frequently reported theme throughout this area of the literature and is most often include (financial barriers, language barriers, availability of culturally and gender appropriate health services). Awareness of health care needs and available health care services was the second commonly encountered theme within the area of Syrian refugee’s women health seeking behaviors.

Conclusions: Having available and accessible health care services for Syrian refugee women in host countries is a fundamental human right that can enhance Syrian refugee women health, wellbeing and quality of life. An awareness of the potential health seeking behaviors, obstacles/barriers and challenges that facing Syrian refugee women may help to promote their accessibility to health services and consequently improve their health and wellbeing. Practitioners can use this review findings to inform future policy, education and developments in practice. Further research is required to develop and evaluate initiatives that target the identified barriers and help Syrian refugee women to fulfil their unmet health care needs.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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