Benavente is one of two PhD candidates at the Pandemic Centre. Since 2021, she has been researching the health of international migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now her first academic research article has been published in the journal International Journal for Equity in Health.
Vaccine pressure and discrimination
The results that have now been presented are based on qualitative interviews with 20 migrants in Oslo and Bergen who had all been exposed to the coronavirus in various ways. The participants have also been selected across fields of work, such as food, construction and transport industries and the health sector.
A main finding is that some of the migrant workers experienced vaccine pressure from their employers. This had a negative effect on mental health. Another main finding was increased discrimination, particularly caused by being perceived as a source of infection and the fear of this. Some of the workers also felt that they were exploited by the employers.
– The participants of our study perceived the discrimination was clearly because they were migrants. This had a particularly negative effect on migrants' health.
Trust in the system
A positive finding, however, was that a high proportion of the migrant workers trusted the Norwegian health and welfare system. This contributed to less financial uncertainty.
– Norwegians tend to take for granted that the system works well, but for many migrants it is positive to experience a support system that responds when you need it, says Benavente.
Another finding was that many of the migrants experienced an increased physical workload as a result of the measures and because many felt they had to hurry. This could, for example, be nurses who had to lift patients alone to avoid the risk of infection.
In the next part of the doctorate, Benavente will compare data to investigate whether the pandemic had a different impact among migrant workers and the Norwegian population.
– It is important to disseminate these findings because we need authorities and decision-makers to take action towards inclusion and equity, says Benavente.
In the process with the article, Benavente has collaborated with her main supervisor Esperanza Diaz at the Pandemic Center and Professor Elena Ronda at the University of Alicante.
Read the article here: https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12939-023-0201...