open access

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2021-03-29
Submitted: 2021-01-02
Accepted: 2021-01-21
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Healthcare seeking preferences of Myanmar migrant seafarers in the deep south of Thailand

Pyae Phyo Kyaw1, Alan F. Geater1
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2021.0001
·
Pubmed: 33829467
·
International Maritime Health 2021;72(1):1-9.
Affiliations
  1. Epidemiology Unit, Prince of Songkla University, 15 Karnjanavanit Soi 7 Rd, Kho Hong, Amphoe Hat Yai, Chang Wat Songkhla 90110, 90110 Hat Yai, Thailand

open access

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original article
Published online: 2021-03-29
Submitted: 2021-01-02
Accepted: 2021-01-21

Abstract

Background: The Thai marine fishing industry depends on migrant workers. Public healthcare services are officially available to all registered migrant workers, but the extent of their utilisation by migrant seafarers is unknown. The aim of the study was to document sociodemographic characteristics, working conditions, illness history and healthcare-seeking preference among Myanmar migrant seafarers in southern Thailand.

Materials and methods: Questionnaire-based interviews were conducted among 385 migrant seafarers and selected participants qualitatively interviewed. Factors related to illness experience and to healthcare- -seeking preference were identified using logistic regression.

Results: Past-one-year illness was reported by 307 (80%) participants, among whom 91% had illness while at sea and 22% an emergency condition requiring immediate transfer ashore. Only 118 (38%) illness events involved visiting a public hospital; another 38% involved private healthcare facilities or drug stores. Illness was associated with supervisory job, alcohol consumption habit, age > 20 years, ethnicity and exposure to hazardous marine life. Compared with the choice of public hospital, use of private healthcare facilities was associated with having at least primary school education and shorter-duration trips at sea. Obtaining medications from a drug store was associated with the job of sorting, packing/storing the catch, non-drinking and low income. Not holding their identity and health-insurance documents and language barrier were major reasons for reluctance to seek treatment at a public hospital.

Conclusions: Illness was common among the migrant seafarers. Utilisation of public hospitals was low. Allowing migrants to keep their identity and health insurance documents themselves and providing materials in the Myanmar language might promote utilisation of public health facilities.

Abstract

Background: The Thai marine fishing industry depends on migrant workers. Public healthcare services are officially available to all registered migrant workers, but the extent of their utilisation by migrant seafarers is unknown. The aim of the study was to document sociodemographic characteristics, working conditions, illness history and healthcare-seeking preference among Myanmar migrant seafarers in southern Thailand.

Materials and methods: Questionnaire-based interviews were conducted among 385 migrant seafarers and selected participants qualitatively interviewed. Factors related to illness experience and to healthcare- -seeking preference were identified using logistic regression.

Results: Past-one-year illness was reported by 307 (80%) participants, among whom 91% had illness while at sea and 22% an emergency condition requiring immediate transfer ashore. Only 118 (38%) illness events involved visiting a public hospital; another 38% involved private healthcare facilities or drug stores. Illness was associated with supervisory job, alcohol consumption habit, age > 20 years, ethnicity and exposure to hazardous marine life. Compared with the choice of public hospital, use of private healthcare facilities was associated with having at least primary school education and shorter-duration trips at sea. Obtaining medications from a drug store was associated with the job of sorting, packing/storing the catch, non-drinking and low income. Not holding their identity and health-insurance documents and language barrier were major reasons for reluctance to seek treatment at a public hospital.

Conclusions: Illness was common among the migrant seafarers. Utilisation of public hospitals was low. Allowing migrants to keep their identity and health insurance documents themselves and providing materials in the Myanmar language might promote utilisation of public health facilities.

Get Citation

Keywords

Myanmar migrant seafarers, illness, healthcare-seeking preferences

About this article
Title

Healthcare seeking preferences of Myanmar migrant seafarers in the deep south of Thailand

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 72, No 1 (2021)

Article type

Original article

Pages

1-9

Published online

2021-03-29

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2021.0001

Pubmed

33829467

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2021;72(1):1-9.

Keywords

Myanmar migrant seafarers
illness
healthcare-seeking preferences

Authors

Pyae Phyo Kyaw
Alan F. Geater

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