Existing studies report a positive association between inadequate health literacy and immigrant's adverse health outcomes. Despite substantial research on this topic among immigrants, little is known about the level of health literacy among Somali women in Europe, and particularly in Norway.
A cross sectional study using respondent driven sampling was conducted in Oslo, Norway. A sample of 302 Somali women, 25 years and older, was interviewed using the short version of the European Health Literacy Questionnaire. Data was analysed using logistic regression.
Findings revealed that 71 % of Somali women in Oslo lack the ability to obtain, understand and act upon health information and services, and to make appropriate health decisions. Being unemployed (OR 3.66, CI 1.08-12.3) and socially less integrated (OR 8.17, CI 1.21-54.8) were independent predictors of an inadequate health literacy among Somali women.
Enhanced health literacy will most likely increase the chance to better health outcomes for immigrants, thereby moving towards health equity in the Norwegian society. Therefore, policies and programs are required to focus and improve health literacy of immigrant communities.
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