Journal of Refugee & Global Health



Background: There are up to 3500 refugees who resettle in Kentucky annually with 66% of refugee children originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Little is known about the barriers to healthcare perceived by Congolese parents. This information can direct interventions to improve the care of these children.

Methods: Focus group discussions (FGD) were used to allow families to share personal anecdotes, compare experiences, and encourage discussion between group members. Between August 2018 to May 2020, three FGDs were conducted with Congolese parents who have at least one child ≤18 years old. An interpreter was utilized for each session to allow participants to communicate in their preferred language. FGDs were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by three research members using qualitative content analysis to generate frequent themes.

Results: A total of 3 focus groups were performed with a total of 13 participants. The majority of participants were female (85%), have lived in Louisville for less than 2 years (54%) and are currently unemployed (38%). Content analysis of the three focus groups discussions reveal three major themes of healthcare barriers: transportation, language, and provider-related factors. Sub-themes include heavy reliance on public transportation despite access to cars, confusion about emergency service utilization, language barriers outside of the traditional healthcare space, long wait times, and re-traumatization during encounters with providers.

Conclusions: Although parents report a wide variety of obstacles for their children, future interventions in Louisville should focus on improving transportation, language barriers, and parental experiences with providers.


Funding has been awarded by the American Academy of Pediatrics Community Access to Child Health Resident Grant 2018, who awarded $2000 towards the implementation of our research study.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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