PROTECTING, BALANCING, AND CONFRONTING: HEALTH-SEEKING AMONG HOMELESS YOUTH IN HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
AbstractThe objective of this study was to explore health-seeking behaviors and barriers faced in accessing care among homeless youth living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted with homeless youth aged 18 to 25. Participants were identified using purposive sampling. Data were analyzed using constructivist grounded theory techniques. Interviews with youth revealed that while living on the streets, they had to balance their need for security with attending to their daily survival needs, which led to a disconnection from thinking about their health. When faced with a major health issue, youth turned to their informal networks of support instead of seeking immediate medical care. To manage their basic health needs, youth obtained medicine and health advice from local pharmacies and sought advice from social workers. Homeless youth interviewed in this study relied on an informal network of peers, social workers, and pharmacies when engaging with the health care system. They also faced several barriers to accessing health services, many of which are tied specifically to policies that make homelessness discriminated against in Vietnam. Within Vietnam’s unique political and social context, there is a need for increased collaboration between service providers such as health clinics, local pharmacies, and social workers to provide appropriate health services to this vulnerable population.
Copyright (c) 2018 Victoria L. Boggiano, Leslie M. Harris, Verena Schmidt, Le Quang Nguyen, Ha An Nguyen, Michele Barry
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