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Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad

Pratik Adhikary (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK)
Zoë A. Sheppard (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK)
Steven Keen (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK)
Edwin van Teijlingen (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 10 January 2018

Issue publication date: 26 February 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

Although South Asia is a growing supplier of migrant labour, there is a paucity of research on the health and well-being of male Nepalese migrant workers. The purpose of this paper is to assess the health and mental well-being of Nepalese construction and factory workers employed in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire administered, in and around Nepal’s international airport, to 403 migrants who had worked for over six months in their host countries. Logistic regression was used to investigate factors associated with self-reported health status and mental health symptoms.

Findings

Over 13 per cent reported poor or very poor health and nearly a quarter reported mental health issues. Whilst age and exercise were significantly associated with health status, poor work environments and perceived health risks were associated with both mental health issues and health status.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to males only and those working in the factories and the construction industry. To improve migrant health and mental well-being, Nepalese and host governments should consider mandatory health insurance and a range of pre-departure and arrival education around general literacy, mental health assessments and workplace health and safety.

Originality/value

There have been no known studies on the health and well-being of Nepalese migrant construction and factory workers in the Middle East and Malaysia. The strong association between self-reported poor health and perceived work environment is an important issue that policy makers in Nepal and destination countries should address.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors’ sincere appreciation goes to all the study participants. This research has been financially supported by Bournemouth University (BU), the UK and Open Society Foundation (OSF). BU supported AH to travel to Nepal, and the OSF provided the UK subsistence funds only. AH’s co-authors provided research supervision throughout the study.

Citation

Adhikary, P., Sheppard, Z.A., Keen, S. and Teijlingen, E.v. (2018), "Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 96-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-12-2015-0052

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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