Exploring Social and Economic Factors that Influence Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Among Venezuelan Migrant Women Living in Colombia Open Access

Ballesteros, Valentina (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x346d556b?locale=en


Background: Colombia has welcomed 1.7 million refugees since 2016, almost 50% of the migrant population are women and girls. Studies have shown that Venezuelan women are fleeing to Colombia to access gynecological services that were unavailable in their home country. Currently, there is a general unmet need for contraception, HIV among Venezuelans in Colombia is increasing, and bordering departments have seen an increase in gestational syphilis.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to understand what access to reproductive services looks like for Venezuelan migrants in Colombia and what external factors can limit that access.

Methods: A secondary analysis from the 2020 GIFMM joint needs assessment was performed from surveys of 3,112 households of Venezuelan migrants currently living in Colombia. Binary logistic regression models were developed to evaluate the effects of social contexts on access to SRH products and services. Two primary variables of consideration were access to SRH services and access to menstrual hygiene products. Different exposure models: secured housing, access to the internet, education level, minimum wage, adequate hygiene and sanitation stations, and department of residence. The data were analyzed using SAS. 9.3. Odds ratios with confidence levels of 95% were computed to ensure the validity of our models.

Results: A total of 577 (23% of all female respondents) women needed access to at least one SRH service, which included access to contraceptives, condoms, pregnancy-related services, gynecological services, and/or others. Out of 577 who reported a need to access SRH services, only 55% were able to access them. The proportion of women who report having the most access are located in La Guajira, where almost 80% of Venezuelan women can successfully access SRH services. In contrast, almost 40% of the women living in Bogota report having difficulty accessing SRH services. Secured housing was the only variable in our analysis of contextual factors that showed statistical significance for both access to menstrual products and SRH services. If you do not have secure housing, the odds of not having access to menstrual products or SRH services are 1.79 and 1.55 times higher compared to those individuals who have secure housing.

Discussion: While many of the general findings of the present study demonstrate that Venezuelan migrants have fairly good access to menstrual hygiene products, this appears to vary wildly by geographic location and is inconsistent with the needs of the general Colombian population. Organizations on the ground are reaching migrants at the border but must expand their reach to individuals who are living in the interior of the country. All future interventions and needs assessments should take into consideration that most migrants will travel to larger cities, like Bogota, where services may be harder to access. Thus, providing individuals with resources to access those services when they arrive in larger cities is key to their full integration in Colombia. 

Table of Contents

Introduction   1

Introduction & Rationale       1

Problem statement    2

Project purpose & Research Questions         2

Significance Statement          3

Definition of Terms    4

Literature Review      5

Political Context and Massive Exodus from Venezuela: How did we get here?       5

The Importance of Access to Reproductive Services 6

Access to Reproductive Health Care in Venezuela    7

Access to Reproductive Health in Emergency Situations      9

Access to Reproductive Health among Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia  10

Gaps in the literature 11

Methodology 13

Data set          13

Data Cleaning 13

Procedures     15

Regression Analysis   16

Ethical Considerations           17

Limitations     17

Results 18

Demographic information and make-up of households       18

Descriptive Analysis of Survey Respondents by Gender       21

Characteristics of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in households       24

Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services 26

Regression Analysis   28

Discussion      32

Make-up of households         32

Insecure housing and the risk of inaccessibility        33

Location and access to SRH   34

Other contextual factors       35

Limitations     36

Public Health Implications and Recommendations  37

References     38

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