Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 31: Migration and patient mobility in Latin America
There are more than three million intra-regional migrants in Latin America and tens of millions of Latin American migrants living in the US. Most of these people cross international borders in search of economic opportunity and then confront unfamiliar healthcare systems. Their experiences vary depending on the political, economic, social and cultural undercurrents in their countries of origin and destination. This chapter uses case studies of migrants from El Salvador in the US and those from other South American countries in Argentina to explore varied regional dynamics and their impact on patient mobility in the context of migration. For Salvadorans in the US, high cost, linguistic and cultural barriers, and limited coverage options for migrants contribute to poor access to care. Political reforms have stalled or failed to address the problem, leaving migrants to consider seeking care elsewhere, including in their countries of origin. Migrants in Argentina enjoy greater political protection and live in a country whose healthcare system is public and universal. They nonetheless encounter discrimination that threatens their open access to care. The two case studies demonstrate that solutions to enhanced patient mobility and migrant access to care are varied and depend on local circumstances.
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