Barriers to Maori Sole Mothers’ Primary Health Care Access

TitleBarriers to Maori Sole Mothers’ Primary Health Care Access
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLee, R.
Secondary AuthorsNorth, N.
JournalJournal of Primary Health Care
Start Page315
Date Published12/2013
Type of ArticleOriginal Scientific Paper: Qualitative Research
KeywordsHealth services accessibility, maori, primary health care, single parent, single-parent family

INTRODUCTION: International research consistently shows that sole mothers experience poorer health
and suboptimal health care access. New Zealand studies on sole mothers’ health report similar findings.
The aim of this exploratory research was to better understand the experiences of Maori sole mothers’
access to health services, particularly primary health care, for personal health needs.

METHODS: This qualitative study employed a general inductive design informed by a Kaupapa Maori
approach, providing guidance on appropriate cultural protocols for recruiting and engaging Maori participants.
Distributing written information and snowballing techniques were used to purposively recruit
seven Maori sole mothers. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews which were digitallyrecorded
and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using general inductive thematic analysis to
identify commonalities and patterns in participants’ experiences.

FINDINGS: The dominant themes that emerged captured and described participants’ experiences in
accessing health care. The major barrier to access reported was cost. Compounding cost, transport
difficulties and location or scheduling of services were additional barriers to health service accessibility.
Child-related issues also posed a barrier, including prioritising children’s needs and childcare over
personal health needs.

CONCLUSION: The findings illuminate Maori sole mothers’ experiences of accessing health care and
the complex socioeconomic inequalities affecting access options and uptake of services. Further investigation
of barriers to access is needed. The study has implications for addressing barriers to access at
policy, funding and practice levels to improve health outcomes and equitable health care access for Maori
sole mothers.