Ghanaian/African migrants in Finland and health issues

Ghanaian/African migrants in Finland and health issues

•African migrants in Finland are employed in jobs such as health

Today, I focus on Ghanaian/ African migrants in Finland and health issues. Health is wealth, the saying goes.

Finland is committed to the inte­gration of migrants into the Finnish society, as I keep pointing out.

A number of research studies from surveys and other in-depth enquiries have shown a trend of in­creasing efforts to integrate African and other migrants into the Finnish society.

As the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has pointed out, health and wellbeing are an im­portant part of integration of immi­grants in Finland (see

Work and health

Most Ghanaian/African migrants in Finland work hard for their liv­ing. Like many other workers, the migrants are employed in various jobs such as in the technology and educational sectors as well as the cleaning, health, and entrepreneur­ship areas.

Also, most migrants are very active in the labour market and are gainfully employed as paid workers or as self-em­ployed en­trepreneurs, although they often have unstable or marginal positions in the Finnish labour market as cleaners, waitresses, and bouncers in pubs. They are happy to find a source of income to sustain them.

As experts point out, migrants trav­el with their health profiles; they encounter diseases as any other human does where they live.

Health and vulnerability

Health experts point out that migrant communities can be highly vulnerable to diseases, especially certain infectious diseases.

Experts say those who came to Finland as refugees or asylum seekers and their family mem­bers are often in a more vulnerable position in terms of their health (see

Research and media reports have shown in many countries that there are structural or societal/ cultural factors that result in quite high rates of infection or ill-health among migrants, when compared with the majority population.

It is suggested that for example language barrier, lack of informa­tion, the nature of the work of mi­grants in professions where working from home is not possible (in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic), not accessing healthcare, etc. can present some of the factors for mi­grants’ vulnerability to diseases and infections.

Gender and health

Health issues about migrants also concern gender and how women and children can be highly vulnerable.

Thus, gender and health is one area that attracts attention about the efforts for migrants’ wellbeing as part of their integration into the Finnish society. It is an area where males and females can access healthcare equally, without any hindrances along gender lines.

It has been found that women report health problems more than men.

Migrant associations, information and social networks

Migrants associations have be­come important points for securing information and education about health issues, particularly among migrants. Such a situation was much evidenced among migrants during the corona virus situation.

Moreover, these associations and institutions become networks that create an important social capital as well as outlets for sharing and gaining information or knowledge.

Public agencies, migrant as­sociations and other non-gov­ernmental organisations (NGOs) in Finland have been publishing information to help educate peo­ple about preventing corona virus infections and other diseases.

Generally, migrant associations formally create awareness among their members and other migrants usually in collaboration with some Finnish institutions, and are thus an important tool for many mi­grants to be positively active and to get their interest and claims heard.

As I wrote previously, the role of migrant associations acting as bridge-builders for the integra­tion and inclusion of migrants through participation in the decision making process and by acting as a representative voice is highly appreciated in Finland. Thank you!

•African migrants in Finland are employed in jobs such as health

By Perpetual Crentsil


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