Political Ecology of Health of South Sudanese Immigrants and Refugees in Ottawa

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MacPherson, Kathryn Patricia




Emerging research suggests despite access to healthcare, South Sudanese in Canada experience dismal health. Applying political ecology of health (PEH) framework, this qualitative study builds on literature, to examine factors underlying this health decline. Focus groups and in-depth interviews with South Sudanese in Ottawa (n=31) reveal multiple factors acting alone or in interaction with processes at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Specifically, findings show that trauma suffered before arrival and from ongoing conflict in South Sudan affects everyday health. The findings also show that a deep political and moral sentiment of solidarity with the motherland mediates household decisions about health. In addition, fierce intra-ethnic rivalry stirred by conflict in South Sudan greatly affects South Sudanese, eroding social and psychological resources necessary for health. Furthermore, the findings indicate that weak integration of South Sudanese men in Canada breeds feelings of loss of social status, triggering family instability and gendered health impacts.






Carleton University

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