Investigating the awareness of refugees and asylum seekers towards HIV-related social and support services available in Cape Town, South Africa

Umetor, Anthony Wovisike (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the level of awareness of refugees and asylum seekers towards HIV-related social and support services available to them in Cape Town in order to provide guidelines that will help improve their optimal utilization of such services which will improve their quality of life. Data was collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire from 51 refugees and asylum seekers who are resident in Cape Town. The findings revealed that a very high percentage of participants have never tested for HIV in South Africa. Reasons given ranged from lack of HIV/AIDS information in a familiar language they understood to a lack of interest on the part of authorities in getting refugees to be integrated into the country’s health policies. The majority of participants responded that they have also not visited the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Cape Town and this UN organ has an important mandate which includes to protect, support and assist refugees in their voluntary repatriation, local integration of refugees and resettlement to a third country. The results of the study show a dearth of knowledge and their lack of awareness of such services. Services such as support groups for HIV positive persons are hardly mentioned in medical facilities where they attend and for the few who are aware of such services, their friends and family are the primary sources of such information. It is hoped that the results of this study could help the relevant bodies and authorities dealing with refugee`s welfare to reorganize and streamline their activities to ensure that refugees are aware of certain critical social support services that could enhance their quality of life in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om vlugtelinge en asielsoekers in Kaapstad se vlakke van bewustheid van die MIV-verwante maatskaplike en steundienste tot hul beskikking te ondersoek. Die uiteindelike oogmerk was om riglyne te bied wat hul optimale gebruik van hierdie dienste sal help bevorder en sodoende hul lewensgehalte sal verhoog. Data is met behulp van ’n selfvoltooiingsvraelys onder 51 vlugtelinge en asielsoekers in die noordelike voorstede van Kaapstad ingesamel. Die bevindinge toon dat ’n hoë persentasie van die respondente nog nooit in Suid-Afrika vir MIV getoets is nie. Die redes hiervoor wissel van ’n gebrek aan MIV/vigs-inligting in ’n bekende, verstaanbare taal tot owerhede se gebrek aan belangstelling om vlugtelinge by die land se gesondheidsbeleid te integreer. Die meeste deelnemers het aangedui dat hulle nog nie die kantore van die Verenigde Nasies se Hoëkommissariaat vir Vlugtelinge (VNHKV) in Kaapstad besoek het nie, al het hierdie Verenigde Nasies-instelling ’n belangrike mandaat, onder meer om vlugtelinge in hul vrywillige repatriasie, plaaslike integrasie en hervestiging in ’n derde land te beskerm, te ondersteun en by te staan. Die resultate van die studie dui op ’n tekort aan kennis sowel as ’n gebrek aan bewustheid van hierdie dienste. Dienste soos steungroepe vir MIV-positiewe persone kom kwalik ter sprake in die mediese fasiliteite wat die respondente besoek, en vir die paar wat wél van hierdie dienste bewus was, is hul vriende en familie die hoofbron van sulke inligting. Die resultate van hierdie studie sal hopelik die tersaaklike liggame en owerhede gemoeid met vlugtelingewelsyn hul werksaamhede help herorganiseer en stroomlyn om te verseker dat vlugtelinge bewus is van sekere kritieke maatskaplike steundienste wat hul lewensgehalte in Suid-Afrika kan verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86579
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