OBJECTIVES: to describe the health care seeking behavior and perceptions relating to the use of health services of women immigrants residing in Portugal. METHODS: in 2009 a cross-sectional study was carried out in the metropolitan area of Lisbon, in which a questionnaire was applied to a sample of 703 women immigrants. The questionnaire included items relating to social and demographic characteristics and the health care seeking behavior and perceptions of the participants regarding the use of services. A descriptive analysis of the variables under study was carried out. RESULTS: most participants (82.4%) reported that they had already used the National Health Service (SNS), although this response was more frequent among Africans (94.5%) and East Europeans (87.2%) than among Brazilians (66.8%). Around 60% of respondents reported that they were satisfied or highly satisfied with the service, with the Africans responding in this manner more frequently (77%) than the Brazilians (49.7%) and East Europeans (43.4%). The groups of participants point to various obstacles to the use of health services, including issues related their status as immigrants, interaction with health professionals and the services provided. CONCLUSIONS: differences in the perceptions of immigrant groups regarding health services and professionals reflect the importance of developing evaluative practices that identify where intervention is needed. Knowing this would make it possible to better adapt the health care provided to specific immigrant groups.
Evaluation; Women; Emigrants and immigrants; Health services; Personal satisfaction