Perceived Health Issues: A perspective from East-African immigrants

M. P-L Shipp, S. A. Francis, K. R. Fluegge, S. A. Asfaw


This Study explores Somali and Ethiopian community leaders’ perceptions about health issues in their communities and the barriers to access and utilization of primary health care services.

Fourteen in-depth interviews were conducted with community leaders and thematic analysis was used to analyze interviews.

Participants identified chronic diseases, the unhealthy behaviors associated with them, and mental health as major health issues. Infectious diseases were secondarily mentioned as important health concerns. Lack of insurance and limited understanding of the health system were viewed as barriers to utilizing health care services. Other identified needs were: better education within immigrant communities about major health issues, enhanced cultural awareness of health care providers, improved health care access, and assistance with the acculturation process.

Recommendations to improve the communities’ health status included enhancing providers' cultural competence, educating immigrants about major health issues, and increasing mental health care access.


Somali; Ethiopians; Community leaders;health issues; Ohio

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