Informal workers and access to healthcare: a qualitative study of facilitators and barriers to accessing healthcare for beer promoters in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Sychareun, Vanphanom, Vongxay, Viengnakhone, Thammavongsa, Vassana, Thongmyxay, Souksamone, Phummavongsa, Phouthong and Durham, Jo (2016) Informal workers and access to healthcare: a qualitative study of facilitators and barriers to accessing healthcare for beer promoters in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15 66: 1-10. doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0352-6


Author Sychareun, Vanphanom
Vongxay, Viengnakhone
Thammavongsa, Vassana
Thongmyxay, Souksamone
Phummavongsa, Phouthong
Durham, Jo
Title Informal workers and access to healthcare: a qualitative study of facilitators and barriers to accessing healthcare for beer promoters in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Journal name International Journal for Equity in Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1475-9276
Publication date 2016-04-18
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12939-016-0352-6
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 15
Issue 66
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Informal workers often face considerable risks and vulnerabilities as a consequence of their work and employment conditions. The purpose of this study was to examine the interplay between the experience of informal work and access to health, using as an example, female beer promoters employed in the informal economy, in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Methods
In-depth interviews were undertaken with 24 female beer promoters working in beer shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Vientiane City. The recruitment strategy of snowball sampling was used. Interviews explored the beer promoter’s experience of the organization of work, perceived healthcare needs, access to healthcare and insurance, and health seeking practices. The data was analysed thematically and subsequently using Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field.

Results
Most of the beer promoters included in the study were 18 years of age, single, had worked as beer promoters for more than one year and just over half were working to support their higher education. The beer promoters demonstrated a holistic view of health, also viewing good health as contributing to being beautiful – an important attribute in their work. Many reported that their work conditions, including the noisy environment, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, long hours on their feet and sexual harassment negatively affected their physical and mental health. Only four participants had any form of health insurance with access to healthcare constrained by individual characteristics, health system factors and the conditions of their informal employment.

Conclusions
Drawing on the work of Bourdieu, the study shows how both employment and illness are linked to habitus embodied in everyday practices, access to capital and the position the female beer promoters hold in the social hierarchy in the field of employment.
Keyword Beer promoters, access to healthcare
Informal workers
Informal sector
Habitus
Bourdieu
Lao PDR
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Public Health Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 19 Apr 2016, 11:01:53 EST by Jo Durham on behalf of School of Public Health