Health and legal literacy for migrants: twinned strands woven in the cloth of social justice and the human right to health care

Vissandjee, Bilkis, Short, Wendy E. and Bates, Karine (2017) Health and legal literacy for migrants: twinned strands woven in the cloth of social justice and the human right to health care. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 17 1: 10. doi:10.1186/s12914-017-0117-3


Author Vissandjee, Bilkis
Short, Wendy E.
Bates, Karine
Title Health and legal literacy for migrants: twinned strands woven in the cloth of social justice and the human right to health care
Journal name BMC International Health and Human Rights   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-698X
Publication date 2017-04-13
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1186/s12914-017-0117-3
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 17
Issue 1
Start page 10
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Abstract Based on an analysis of published literature, this paper provides an over-view of the challenges associated with delivering on the right to access quality health care for international migrants to industrialized countries, and asks which group of professionals is best equipped to provide services that increase health and legal literacy. Both rights and challenges are approached from a social justice perspective with the aim of identifying opportunities to promote greater health equity. That is, to go beyond the legal dictates enshrined in principles of equality, and target as an ethical imperative a situation where all migrants receive the particular assistance they need to overcome the barriers that inhibit their equitable access to health care. This assistance is especially important for migrant groups that are further disadvantaged by differing cultural constructions of gender. Viewing the topic from this perspective makes evident a gap in both research literature and policy. The review has found that while health literacy is debated and enshrined as a policy objective, and consideration is given to improving legal literacy as a means of challenging social injustice in developing nations, however, no discussion has been identified that considers assisting migrants to gain legal literacy as a step toward achieving not only health literacy and improved health outcomes, but critical participation as members of their adoptive society.

Increasing migrant health literacy, amalgamated with legal literacy, aids migrants to better access their human right to appropriate care, which in turn demonstrably assists in increasing social engagement, citizenship and productivity. However what is not evident in the literature, is which bureaucratic or societal group holds responsibility for assisting migrants to develop critical citizenship literacy skills. This paper proposes that a debate is required to determine both who is best placed to provide services that increase health and legal literacy, and how they should be resourced, trained and equipped.
Formatted abstract
Background: Based on an analysis of published literature, this paper provides an over-view of the challenges associated with delivering on the right to access quality health care for international migrants to industrialized countries, and asks which group of professionals is best equipped to provide services that increase health and legal literacy. Both rights and challenges are approached from a social justice perspective with the aim of identifying opportunities to promote greater health equity. That is, to go beyond the legal dictates enshrined in principles of equality, and target as an ethical imperative a situation where all migrants receive the particular assistance they need to overcome the barriers that inhibit their equitable access to health care. This assistance is especially important for migrant groups that are further disadvantaged by differing cultural constructions of gender. Viewing the topic from this perspective makes evident a gap in both research literature and policy. The review has found that while health literacy is debated and enshrined as a policy objective, and consideration is given to improving legal literacy as a means of challenging social injustice in developing nations, however, no discussion has been identified that considers assisting migrants to gain legal literacy as a step toward achieving not only health literacy and improved health outcomes, but critical participation as members of their adoptive society.

Conclusion: Increasing migrant health literacy, amalgamated with legal literacy, aids migrants to better access their human right to appropriate care, which in turn demonstrably assists in increasing social engagement, citizenship and productivity. However what is not evident in the literature, is which bureaucratic or societal group holds responsibility for assisting migrants to develop critical citizenship literacy skills. This paper proposes that a debate is required to determine both who is best placed to provide services that increase health and legal literacy, and how they should be resourced, trained and equipped.
Keyword Empowerment
Equity
Ethics
Gender
Health literacy
Human Rights
Justice
Legal literacy
Migration
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Social Science Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 09 May 2017, 00:23:47 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)