Healthcare in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic
2014
Research

Research on populations of migrant workers around the globe

demonstrate that these groups are often subject to poor socioeconomic

conditions and are exposed to discrimination, violence, and exploitation.

In the Dominican Republic, there is a large population of migrants from

Haiti that is confined to poor rural shantytown communities called

bateys; here, they are subject to poor living conditions lacking

basic infrastructure such as potable water and waste disposal and are

the targets of widespread discrimination by Dominicans. This batey

population has been shown to have particularly negative health outcomes

in infectious diseases such as TB, dengue, malaria and HIV/AIDS, but

healthcare seeking among Haitians in bateys had not been previously

investigated.

 

In collaboration with Global Health Fellow Lindsey

Hiebert, I conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire-based field study

from June 2014-July 2014, and explored the differences between Haitians

and Dominicans in healthcare seeking among adult household

representatives from Batey Libertad. The data analysis used Haitian

nationality as a primary explanatory variable, and various

socioeconomic indicators as covariates, to perform single and

multi-variable logistical regressions on the quantitative survey data.

While there were significant socioeconomic differences between Haitians

and Dominicans in the batey, these did not account for the disparities

in health-seeking behavior. Haitians were significantly less likely to choose to

visit private healthcare facilities for treatment.

 

Haitians also reported receiving lower quality of care, even

when controlling for experiences of discrimination. These findings

suggest that real disparities exist in the treatment that Haitians

receive in comparison to Dominicans, and that these disparities may

contribute to Haitians choosing not to seek healthcare in times of

need.