Colombia is the country with the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Western hemisphere and paradoxically, the country with the most sophisticated legislation on internal displacement. Notwithstanding Colombia’s notable bylaws, most IDPs are unable to access medical care in private- or government-sponsored institutions. Access to care in Colombia is conditional upon costs imposed for healthcare services and the efforts and abilities of people with limited resources and information. This qualitative investigation was designed to obtain information on IDPs’ experiences and perceptions regarding accessibility to health care. The study of patients’ experiences and perceptions is paramount, prior to writing policies and designing health systems. Research studies evaluated prior to beginning the investigation show that the views, perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of head-of-household IDPs regarding accessibility to medical care have not been sufficiently considered. This study was conducted with sixteen purposely selected, internally displaced adult participants who responded to open-ended questions during personal interviews. The study revealed that, in spite of the general awareness and understanding about their rights to seek and obtain medical care, IDPs were unable to access health care mainly due to lack of financial resources to pay for transportation. Results show that IDPs avoid seeking health care only to evade the frustrations imposed by having to wait a long time to access services during emergencies and for basic medical needs. IDPs find that their efforts are unproductive as they are mainly prescribed ineffective over-the-counter medications or are referred to obtain financially inaccessible medical tests.
|Subjects||Social work; Management; Health care management|
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