Migration flows from Eastern Europe to Italy have been large and continue to grow. The purpose of this study was to examine the health status of a population of Moldovan migrant women, and their access to health care services in northern Italy, by age group and health literacy level.
We administered an ad-hoc questionnaire to adult Moldovan women. A bivariate analysis was conducted to test the association between health literacy and age groups with other variables (lifestyles, symptoms and diseases, access to health services). A stepwise logistic regression analysis was run to test the association between access to primary care and health literacy. Moreover, the study compare Moldovan women data with a sample of Italian women of the same age range living in North-Eastern region.
Our sample included 170 Moldovan women (aged 46.5 ± 12.3) in five occupational categories: home care workers (28.2%); cleaners (27.1%); health care workers (5.9%); other occupations (28.8%); and unemployed (10%). Active smokers were twice as prevalent among the women with a low health literacy. Health literacy level also determined access to primary healthcare services. For all age groups, the Moldovan sample reported a higher prevalence of allergies, lumbar disorders and depression than the Italian controls.
The reported prevalence of some diseases was higher among Moldovan migrant women than among Italian resident women. Health literacy was associated with the migrant women’s lifestyle and the use of primary health care services, as previously seen for the autochthonous population.