Healthcare utilization and barriers to use among ethnic minority populations: Looking at Indigenous women in West Papua

Hanner, Olsen

Background: Ethnic minority populations have lower rates of healthcare utilization than ethnic majority populations.Purpose: This paper explores healthcare utilization by Indigenous West Papuan women and explains said utilization within the prominent barriers to healthcare utilization observed in ethnic minority populations globally. Method: Secondary data analysis was conducted using Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data collected in Indonesia in 2017, with the use of migration status as a proxy for ethnic minority status in Western Guinea. Results: Indigenous women in Western Guinea are less likely to use skilled health services than non-Indigenous women. There are multiple reasons for this, which can be understood within the four prominent barriers to healthcare utilization observed in ethnic minority populations globally (financial access to health services, physical access to health services, the behavior and cultural competency of health service providers, and the quality of care provided). Indigenous women were more likely than non-Indigenous women to report having problems getting money for treatment [chi2 = 38.0572; p-value = 0.00]. Conclusion: Barriers to healthcare utilization operate systemically and reproductively to force ethnic minority populations into a state of lower socioeconomic status and health outcomes. The incorporation of anti-racist foundations in health service provision is necessary to ensure the right to health for ethnic minority populations and for the successful fulfillment of the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).


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The Columbia University Journal of Global Health
Columbia University Libraries

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Published Here
December 7, 2022


Healthcare, Utilization, Ethnic Minorities, Indigeneity