chapter  9
16 Pages

An institutional approach towards migration and health in China


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There are at least eighty-five million rural-urban migrants in mainland China. These migrants face great health risks, yet are not covered by any medical care scheme. In linking migration and health, particularly in studies of migration and HIV, most of the existing literature adopts a ‘behavioural approach’, which assumes that certain migrant behaviour patterns are disease-prone. Moving away from this perspective, I propose an ‘institutional approach’ which holds that migrants face particular health problems because of their position in the established social system. In terms of policy recommendations, the behavioural approach tends to focus on policies that directly affect migrants’ health behaviours, while the institutional approach draws attention to the fact that medical policies are embedded in various other institutions, and accordingly stresses the importance of examining the relationship between different institutional arrangements and identifying realistic strategies for policy change.