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Vietnamese refugees in Victoria, B.C.: An overview of immigrant and refugee health care in a medium-sized Canadian urban centre


  • Stephenson, Peter H.


This paper examines the manner in which Vietnamese refugees acces the healthcare system in Victoria, British Columbia. A major theme of this study was the identification of barriers to health care access and provision as perceived by refugees and health care providers, as well as areas of overlap between the two sets of perceptions. The study was based on interview protocols developed with key informants followed by structured samples of 20 Vietnamese and 20 health care workers. The major issue identified by both groups was problematic interpretation of patient symptoms and health care provider recommendations. Lack of health care worker understanding of traditional remedies for common ailments was also identified as a barrier to health care access and utilization. The special problems of unemployment, depression, surviving torture and getting assistance are all made more difficult for refugees living in a smaller urban centre which lacks sufficiently large ethnic populations to assist in service provision. A number of suggestions are made which might ameliorate the difficulties of refugees living in smaller communities. These include municipally based client advocates and special translation training for existing hospital staff.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephenson, Peter H., 1995. "Vietnamese refugees in Victoria, B.C.: An overview of immigrant and refugee health care in a medium-sized Canadian urban centre," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 1631-1642, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:40:y:1995:i:12:p:1631-1642

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    Cited by:

    1. Gagnon, A.J. & Zimbeck, M. & Zeitlin, J., 2009. "Migration to western industrialised countries and perinatal health: A systematic review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 934-946, September.
    2. Janevic, T. & Savitz, D.A. & Janevic, M., 2011. "Maternal education and adverse birth outcomes among immigrant women to the United States from Eastern Europe: A test of the healthy migrant hypothesis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 429-435, August.
    3. Wang, Lu & Rosenberg, Mark & Lo, Lucia, 2008. "Ethnicity and utilization of family physicians: A case study of Mainland Chinese immigrants in Toronto, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(9), pages 1410-1422, November.


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