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UK Somali populations as medical nomads

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Mar 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 11 May 2019
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)1-19
Early online date11/05/19
Original languageEnglish


Much medical travel scholarship has been driven by a commercial focus whereby
private providers pursue a high-value and complex patient market, primarily
emanating from the Middle East, North America and Western Europe. This emphasis has led to a framing around ‘medical tourism’, prompting countervailing critiques of the term and the introduction of alternatives including ‘medical pilgrimage’ and ‘medical exile’. Reappraising the dynamics of mobility has led to explanations of medical travel increasingly located in fields of diaspora and transnationalism. The article identifies how diasporas and transnational communities resist straightforward categorization regarding the routes and processes through which they utilise healthcare. In this vein the article introduces the concept of ‘medical nomadism’ and grounds it in the experiences of Somali patients’ travel from the United Kingdom for healthcare overseas. It argues medical nomadism is a distinct medical travel behaviour, pointing to similar behaviours of Cape Verdeans living in Netherlands, and
the concept’s utility in interrogating broader health-seeking mobility.

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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