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06 September 2020

Portugal: Research project on migration and health during COVID-19 shows the need to reinforce healthcare services

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The first comparative study has been made on the consequences of COVID-19 in migrant and native families in Amadora, the most densely populated municipality in Portugal where foreign citizens account for 11.7% of the population. The final results of the study are due to be published soon, but key statistics are already being shared.

The data, collected from 217 migrant families and 203 native families, overwhelmingly demonstrates that migrant families have been more severely impacted by the virus than native families on almost all fronts.

Key findings of the study include:

  • 72% of migrant families stated that their monthly income decreased due to loss of work or decreased wages during the pandemic, while among native families this figure stood at 49%;
  • 46% of migrant families experienced difficulty in securing hospital access during the pandemic, while only 12% of native families did;
  • 39% migrant families had to postpone rent payments, credit instalments or water, gas and electricity expenses during the pandemic, against 23% of native families.

According to researcher Maria do Rosário Martins, the results “show that the situation is difficult for everyone, but it is even more negative for migrant families, who are more exposed to the socioeconomic problems caused by the health crisis". This points to the need to strengthen health services in order to prevent social exclusion.

Also participating in the project were the Group of Health Centres of Amadora (ACES) and the Association of Community Intervention, Social and Health Development (AJPAS), which have both previously collaborated with Maria do Rosário Martins in a project to determine the socio-demographic and economic profile of these 420 families in Amadora. This former project showed that migrants, mostly from Portuguese-speaking countries such as Cape Verde, Angola, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau, "have greater job insecurity, lower median incomes, lower health expenditures, and live in more crowded houses than native families".

For further information on the project and report, click here. Other countries such as Poland, Denmark and the UK have also been researching the specific experiences of minority communities during the pandemic.


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Posted by
Alina Esteves
Country Coordinator

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