The dissertation focuses on how individual non-citizens residing illegally in the country perceive their health status, what wishes they have regarding healthcare, and whether these wishes are fulfilled. The individual perspective is used instead of the more common concepts of health and healthcare needs, which are based more on the care-giver perspective.
“The fact that wishes are not met is partly due to the individuals’
lack of access to care, but also results from the fact that the care that is offered is not necessarily the care the individual wishes to receive,” says Ramin Baghir-Zada. “‘Pills don’t help at all’ and ‘to feel better, I need a residency permit’ were common expressions among the people I interviewed, who linked their health status to their legal, social, and economic situation.”
In one section of the dissertation Ramin Baghir-Zada discusses what concepts should be used to best depict the interviewees as a group.
“Among other reasons, I chose to call the group ‘illegal aliens’ in order to explicitly show their legal status,” he says.
Ramin Baghir-Zada interviewed 42 people who are illegally residing in Sweden and 38 who are illegal residents of the Netherlands.
“Common health problems among the interviewees were toothaches, headaches, stomach pain, high blood pressure, depression, and other mental problems, the sense of ‘not feeling well’ or having ‘lots of pain’ throughout the body,” he says.
Ramin Baghir-Zada hopes his dissertation will help spark a broader discussion and more consistent and honest behavior from players in this field.
“It’s naive to believe that care policy can be divorced from migration policy,” he says. “The perspective of ‘care for all’ that activists and unions employ is predicated upon the care-giver determining what care should be made available. No consideration is paid either to the legal status of the individual, which creates anxiety and worry, or to the limited scope they have to determine their own lives.”
In both Sweden and the Netherlands non-citizens who are residing in the countries illegally are excluded from the public healthcare insurance system, with the exception of children under the age of 18 who previously sought asylum.
“An EU study ranks Sweden among the worst countries in terms of offering healthcare to illegal aliens,” says Ramin Baghir-Zada.
Dissertation title: Illegal Aliens and Health (Care) Wants. The Cases of Sweden and the Netherlands
PLace: Auditorium at Health and Society, Entrance 49, University Hospital MAS, Malmö
Time: Friday, October 23, 1.00 p.m.