Exploring the healthcare experiences of African immigrant women in Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Matini, Kemunto
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This dissertation explores the healthcare experiences of African immigrant women living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It seeks to understand the barriers and facilitators encountered and their perception of the system. Informed by intersectionality, it aims to highlight how the participants' intersecting identities and the social context shape their experiences. In individual interviews and focus groups, 27 women who were recent immigrants to Canada, discussed their interactions with healthcare providers and the healthcare system. Many women face barriers navigating the healthcare system, accessing services, and communicating with providers. In contrast, positive healthcare interactions were characterised by being actively involved in their care, and feeling seen and heard. In order to overcome these barriers, concerted efforts are needed at the levels of local community organisations, healthcare providers and healthcare policy. In a reflective methodology paper I discuss the complex experience of conducting qualitative research within one's own community and the challenges that arose from interviewing Black women as a Black woman. I draw on interview and focus group transcripts from the primary study, existing literature and my own reflections. I found that while insider status and universalization helped facilitate conversations with participants, challenges were also encountered. A reluctance to speak about negative experiences and hesitancy to name racism hindered deeper exploration of their experiences. These manuscripts are complementary in the information they provide and contribute to the limited literature on African immigrant women in Canada. Although they use different methods and have differing objectives, they are informed by a feminist standpoint methodology and take an intersectional approach that privileges the voices of Black women.
qualitative methodology, public health, immigrant health, health sciences