Introduction: The aim of this study was to gather information on the healthcare background and social environment of the Maghrebian immigrant population in Catalonia in order to guide the management and provision of social services and the work of the organizations supporting this collective. Methods: To gather data, we used a questionnaire exploring healthcare and social variables, including stressors and social support. Data collection was performed by pollsters in Arabic. Results: We performed 403 interviews. Most interviewees had a health card providing access to public healthcare and knew where to access healthcare. The most frequently used services were primary care and emergency departments. In primary care, almost all of the interviewees were provided explanations, but 30% were unable to understand them properly. Health professionals seemed to have inadequate awareness of cultural and religious differences. Work, housing, distance from the family, and legal status were stressful factors for more than half of this population. Social support was low. Three quarters of the interviewees felt lonely. More than half of this population had completely or partially fulfilled their expectations of migration, while 11% felt they were in a worse situation. Conclusions: The main areas for improvement are the provision of information on conditions of healthcare access, promotion of social interaction, the use of associations for immigrants -especially during the first phases of the migration process- and facilitating religious activities. Health professionals should be provided with training in intercultural issues. © 2008 Sociedad Española de Salud Pública y Administración Sanitaria.
- Healthcare services
- Social support