SocioBrief 3 A

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SocioBrief n°3a / 2020

Improving Health Care for Women with Chronic Illness.
Focus on Migrant Women (MIWOCA)

Annika Frahsa, Thomas Abel, Tevfik Bayram, Sandro Cattacin, Luna de Araujo, Romaine Farquet, Sophie Meyer and Sibel Sakarya

ISSN: 2673-2742


Key messages

  • MIWOCA presents 10 recommendations for improving health care for women with chronic conditions, with special consideration of women with migration experience.
  • These recommendations are based on interviews and focus groups with women, interviews with health care providers, as well as dialogues between them and health specialists and decision makers.
  • MIWOCA identified barriers and resources to access health care, by focusing on Patient Reported Experiences (PRE).


In Switzerland, access to health care is limited for various population groups. For example, women with migration background use some health care services (e.g. early detection measures) less frequently than the rest of the population, even though they suffer more frequently from chronic conditions. In view of these differences, the MIWOCA project analysed women’s experiences with the health care system in the Cantons of Bern and Geneva, the barriers they faced and the resources they used to access high quality care.

Women from Germany, Portugal, Turkey and Switzerland participated in various parts of the project. Complementary interviews with health and social services providers were also conducted. During interviews and focus groups, the women highlighted several issues that affect them, and named their resources and strategies to overcome the barriers faced. These might include becoming experts of their own illness over time or using their social network’s support.

During stakeholder dialogues - the last phase of the project, the women shared their experiences and needs with relevant health and social services specialists. Together, they developed 10 recommendations to improve access to healthcare.