Mrs. Hnin Oo Mon, from Myanmar, who is a Ph.D. student in the Ph.D. Program on Demography at the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, presented her research proposal on “Accessibility to Health Services and Health Seeking Behavior among Different Ethnic Groups of Migrants from Myanmar in Thailand.” The presentation was held publicly on July 12, 2017 at the IPSR Srabua Room.
Thailand has been international migrants’ destination country, mainly for the three neighboring countries. As of September 2016, there are approximately 1.4 million migrants with work permits in Thailand (Ministry of Labour, 2017). However, there is an estimation of 4.5 million migrant worker enter into Thailand with/or without documented, and work with/or without work permits as of December 2015 (Vapattanawong et al., 2015). According to the recent published 2014 Myanmar Population and Household Census, 2 million migrants are living in other countries rather than Myanmar and up to 70 percent of migrants migrated to Thailand (Department of Population, 2014).
Although data is limited, evidence suggests that migrant patients have a higher mortality rate than Thais. This difference may be due to delay in treatment seeking or reluctance in utilizing the official health services (Apichat Chamratrithirong et al., 2010; Sciortino & Punpuing, 2009). Migrants from Myanmar in Thailand had difficulty in accessing health care services due to legal status, low socioeconomic status, living arrangements, language and cultural barriers, little knowledge regarding accessibility health services and their rights, level of movement among migrants, involvement of employers, attitude and perception from service providers and resources limitation of health system (Tangcharoensathien et al., 2010). In addition, migrants from Myanmar are from different ethnic groups, which each groups has different health practice and belief according to their culture (Isarabhakdi, 2004).
The research questions in this study are how the culture difference among ethnic groups of Myanmar migrants have different accessibility and health seeking behavior, what are factors influencing on accessibility to health services and health seeking behavior of migrants from Myanmar in Thailand, how does the health system and health service providers in Thailand effect on accessibility to health services of Myanmar migrants. This research will be first, based on a secondary data from the PHAMIT 2 Project, secondly based on a qualitative data, which will collect information, particularly attitude and perception from health care service providers, and also conditions of health seeking behavior and accessibility to health services among migrant workers.