The difficulties faced by indigenous people in developing countries when accessing health care: A case study in Nicaragua

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


A number of studies have investigated the utilization element of health-care access for Indigenous peoples, but most of this research has been conducted with Indigenous populations based in developed countries, principally Australia, the United States, and Canada. The research presented in this article is an attempt to begin addressing this imbalance and is based on a case study of the Rama who live on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. It represents the first time access to health for this Indigenous group has been investigated. Research data come from one focus group and 31 semistructured interviews with both Rama individuals and non-Rama health professionals, conducted between May and June 2016. The article will first outline the present condition of health care on the Caribbean Coast, encapsulating both Western and traditional medicine facilities. The article will then describe the difficulties many Rama face with financial decision-making and explore how this affects their ability to access health care. Finally, it will briefly outline individual case studies to describe the structural barriers to health care that exist for the Rama. These are many and complex and include a lack of reliable health information, a shortage of Rama health professionals, poor retention rates for non-Rama staff, and the high price and low availability of medicines. The article will conclude by highlighting the heterogeneity of Rama health-care experiences and through drawing on the cultural safety and health inequality literatures by outlining potential solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017
EventQualitative Health Research Conference, 2017 - Québec City, Canada
Duration: 17 Oct 201719 Oct 2017


ConferenceQualitative Health Research Conference, 2017
CityQuébec City
Internet address

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