Maternal and Reproductive Health Experiences of Francophone Refugee Women Living in Durham, North Carolina

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



Maternal and reproductive health experiences of Central African and French-speaking refugee populations in the United States have not been well studied, despite the fact that the United States has resettled 50,000 Congolese refugee during a recent 5-year period. This quantitative case study analysis was conducted to fill a gap in the literature on the health of French-speaking refugee women by qualitatively examining their experiences with maternal and reproductive healthcare across their life course. In addition to presenting the experiences of each participant, this study aims to give voice to an often ignored population of refugee women and to provide agency to each participant to share her story. Although each refugee follows a unique path, the participants in this study all followed a general life course pattern. The experiences of each participant in this study were analyzed and categorized according to the following life course pattern: 1) Living in a conflict area, 2) Living in an asylum-seeking country, 3) Living in the United States. Individual unstructured, conversational interviews were conducted with five French-speaking refugee women recruited through a snowball sample. Interviews were conducted in French in the participant’s home using an interview guide that included questions on general healthcare experiences, maternal and obstetric care and family planning history throughout each stage of the life course. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Analytic memos were created to identify emerging themes. The general healthcare experiences, as well as maternal and reproductive healthcare experiences, of each participant were discussed in the context of each stage of the life course. This presentation will summarize findings, as well as emerging themes related to religion, abortion, and family planning. Furthermore, this presentation will discuss and analyze the implications and importance of this research at a personal, statewide, national and international level.





Thornton, Madeline (2018). Maternal and Reproductive Health Experiences of Francophone Refugee Women Living in Durham, North Carolina. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.