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Abstract

Introduction The State of Qatar has embarked on an ambitious development plan in the past 20 years, propelling a sparsely populated country with strong Bedouin roots into a cosmopolitan country teeming with cultural activity and economic development. Transforming the nation in such a rapid timeframe required the importation of a sizeable migrant labor workforce to build infrastructure given the nation's small population. Consequently, this labor force, which mainly comes from South Asia and Africa, has been a critical component in the development of Qatar's infrastructure. The pace of change has been dramatic, and a lack of local oversight of the migrant workers' conditions has resulted. Although international human rights organizations have focused on issues of freedom of movement and workplace safety (Amnesty International, 2016, Pattisson, 2013), less attention has been paid to the workers' utilization of basic health resources, including their knowledge or use of preventive health measures. Qatar's labor practices require health services to be available for workers. However, it is unclear whether or if laborers are able to access them. Additionally, the migrant worker population in Qatar likely has low health-literacy levels, which means they may not know about or be able to access needed health resources. Objectives This study aims to understand migrant workers' health beliefs and attitudes including, whether and how they seek medical care when they are ill, by focusing on migrant workers who work for one of the companies in Qatar with whom the researchers are partnering. The study aims to discover whether migrant workers are utilizing the free health care services provided with the Hamad Medical Card or resources provided through their company. Preliminary results, explained below, indicate they are not using health resources as often as they need them, resulting in lower health levels. Based on the results of this formative research, the researchers plan to develop and execute a message campaign designed to increase migrant workers' awareness and utilization of health resources, including what is available to them via insurance plans like the Hamad Medical Card. Methodology Phase 1 Structured Interviews In the first phase, currently ongoing, the researchers are conducting structured in-depth interviews (n = 70). Interviews are necessary because of the likelihood of the low literacy levels in at least some of the workers, which would inhibit success with a written survey. When possible, the research team is conducting the interviews in the workers' native language. The interviews will help ascertain the workers' assessment of a wide variety of health beliefs and practices. The results will also allow the research team to develop a deeper understanding of how workers perceive what health care resources are available to them and how they can utilize those resources. Questions include “Do you have health insurance and if so, are you able to use it?” Additionally, the research team is evaluating workers' media use and literacy levels to determine the best mechanism for distributing a message campaign. This phase should conclude by the end of October. Phase 2 Message Campaign In the second phase, the researchers will analyze interview data to understand the current health practices and beliefs to guide the creation of messages designed to improve the workers' utilization of available heath resources. Preliminary results indicate that the workers do not often use what is available to them because of misconceptions about the available resources and how to access the them. Preliminary results also indicate low literacy levels and a wide variety of languages spoken among the migrant worker population, indicating the need for image-based posters/brochures and videos, where the message is conveyed with minimal talking. Phase 3 Campaign Evaluation In the last phase, the research team will assess the workers exposure to and evaluation of the campaign to determine if they have used the health resources described in the messages. Did they learn about resources? Were they able to access them because of information provided in the messages? The researchers will use this information to finalize the messages to improve their understandability and persuasiveness. Then, the researchers will redistribute the campaign and make the messages available to our partner company to use as new migrant laborers arrive in Qatar. The messaging campaign materials will also be made available to other companies in Qatar at no cost. Relevant Pillar: Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities: Education, Labor and Migration This study is directly relevant to the core pillar Social, Sciences, Arts and Humanities as its focus includes Labor and Migration. It will provide an understanding of whether and how migrant workers utilize health resources. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods will help the researchers] evaluate the migrant workers' current situation and awareness of available heath resources. This study aims to improve health conditions for migrant workers by increasing their awareness level regarding the existing health resources that they can access. This work is supported by a QNRF UREP grant. We are not supplying the grant number here for anonymity reasons. References Amnesty International. “Annual Report Qatar 2015/2016”. Accessed October 2, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/qatar/report-qatar/ Pattisson, P. (2013, September 25). Revealed: Qatar's World Cup ‘slaves’. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars-world-cup-slaves

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2018.SSAHPD443
2018-03-15
2019-10-17
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