BACKGROUND: Refugee women who leave their country due to persecution and violence have multiple barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The COVID-19 pandemic added an additional barrier to in-person reproductive health education, dialogue, and clinical care. This study aimed to assess the potential of using virtual group meetings as a forum for refugee women to learn about and discuss reproductive health concerns such as cervical cancer screening, family planning, childbirth, and postpartum care.
METHOD: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 refugee women and stakeholders to assess factors that impact refugee women's receptiveness for virtual platforms to obtain information and engage in discussions on reproductive health. Thematic analysis was conducted using the software Dedoose.
RESULTS: Openness to engage in virtual platforms varied by refugee community, women's demographic, and life experience. The women's involvement with local refugee groups facilitated their engagement with virtual platforms. Furthermore, individuals' family structure and marital relationship, along with literacy and English proficiency, and access to and familiarity with technology impacted engagement. Virtual groups needed to mirror confidentiality and women expressed a strong preference that groups were all-women.
CONCLUSION: Refugee women are receptive to virtual groups on SRH when they are offered in a culturally appropriate manner that considers the living situations and access to technology after arrival to the USA. Findings from this study provide a framework to develop and tailor effective virtual or hybrid virtual-in-person programs for women in refugee communities.
Thiel de Bocanegra, H., Goliaei, Z., Khan, N., Banna, S., Behnam, R., & Mody, S. (2023). Refugee Women’s Receptiveness for Virtual Engagement on Reproductive Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30 (3), 366-375. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-022-10097-3
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.