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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


VALL-LLOSERA CASANOVAS, Laura; SAURINA CANALS, Carme  and  SAEZ ZAFRA, Marc. Immigration and health: needs and primary health care use by immigrant population in the Girona Health Region. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.83, n.2, pp.291-307. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: At the end of 1998, foreign population in Spain supposed a 1.60% of the total population. Nowadays, this percentage rises at 13.01%. This change in the population socio-demographic structure means an alteration of the use of public services in our country. For this reason, this paper aims to analyze, for the Health Region Girona (RSG), the attended morbidity, the needs and the uses of primary health care services by immigrant population, compared with native users considering sex, age, ethnicity and sociodemographic conditions. Methods: The data on morbidity and on health care services utilization comes from medical records of the Catalan Health Institute (ICS); socio-economic information comes from a questionnaire administered to a sample of 645 users of primary health care services selected, using a non proportional stratified sampling method, from a previous population identification process. Data was analyzed with complex samples module of SPSSv15, through non-parametric and parametric contrasts. Results: The results show an immigrant population healthier than the native (50.1% of visits compared to 61.2%, 50% of drug consumption versus 66.7% and 29.6% of chronic disorders versus 51.4%) although they persist in worst socio-economic conditions (9.4% unemployed compared to 5.6%, 38% are illiterate compared to 17.4%, or 53.5% of homes in rent versus 15%). Adjusting by these variables, frequentation rates do not differ by patient’s origin. Conclusions: Realized contrasts allow affirming that are, mainly, these socio-demographic conditions, and not uniquely the origin of the patient, those that determine the population needs and the population uses of health care services.

Keywords : Emigration and Immigration; Statistics & numerical data; Classification; Outpatients; Social conditions; Patient identification systems; Economics, Medical.

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