Knowledge, access and use of the health system by migrant adolescents in Chile: results of an exploratory study

Obach et al.


To identify the knowledge, access, and use of the health system by migrant adolescents, and the barriers to access and use of the health system in that population in Chile.


Observational, cross-sectional exploratory study applied in a participatory workshop with migrant adolescents (N=30) in three municipalities of the city of Santiago, Chile. Multimethods study. A baseline survey on the migration process and experiences in the health system was applied, with descriptive data analysis. From the qualitative point of view, discussion groups (n=5) and participatory workshops (n=2) were carried out with migrant adolescents.


Sixty percent of the adolescents said they did not know if they were registered in the health system, and half of them had not used it. Time of residence was identified as a relevant factor for the effective use of some health benefits. Administrative barriers to access the health system were recognized, such as immigration status, perception of obligatory adult companionship, and experiences of discrimination in care. Specific needs were identified in sexual and reproductive health, such as access to condoms, and mental health care from specialists. As facilitators of access and use, experiences of proper treatment and the presence of the health sector in schools were highlighted.


Lack of information about the health system and various barriers to access and use by migrant adolescents were identified. Based on the results, general recommendations are proposed for the country and the region to improve the health of migrant adolescents.

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