Title : Socio-Ecological factors characterising migrants and refugee youth’s sexual and reproductive health and rights
Background: The challenges migrants and refugee youth (MRY) experience in maintaining their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) continues to be a global public health issue. Consequently, MRY are more likely to encounter adverse SRH experiences due to limited access to and knowledge of SRH services. Using a socio-ecological framework, this study examined the MRY’s SRHR micro-level experiences to macro-levels analyses of SRH-related social systems and constructions.
Methods: Eighteen focus groups were conducted using participatory action research (PAR) methodology to understand the phenomena. The focus groups included MRY participants (ages 16-26) living in Greater Western Sydney and facilitated by youth project liaisons (YPL). The data was afterwards synthesised and analysed using the thematic-synthesis method.
Results: In total, 86 MRY (male n= 25, female n= 61) MRY (across 20 different cultural backgrounds) participated in the focus groups. The findings identified socio-ecological factors characterising MRY SRHR, highlighting facilitators such as social media and significant barriers such as lack of access to services and socio-cultural dissonance and the under-implementation of SRHR support and services by MRY. Key themes from the data included traditional and institutional stigma, lack of SRH education, high reliance on social media for SRH information, anonymity and privacy concerns.
Conclusion: The data shows a limited extent to which MRY SRHR is considered and the intergenerational understanding and stigma affecting the rights of MRY. Therefore, these findings suggest a need for policies and practices to empower MRY’s agency through a collaborative SRHR strategy and policy design to maintain relevance in multicultural contexts.
Audience Take Away Notes:
- Learn about socio-ecological factors affecting migrant and refugee youth's access and utilization of sexual and reproductive health services, and the impact of these factors on health outcomes.
- They will also learn about the role of service providers and policymakers in creating culturally safe services for these youth, and the importance of focusing on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of migrant and refugee youth as a means of improving both individual and community health outcomes.
- Gain insights on engaging MRY using a PAR approach in understanding their experiences in relation to SRH and their human rights and the impact on their agency and decision-making in healthcare outcomes.