Background: Because they face persecution in their native Myanmar, many members of the Chin ethnic group have come to the United States as refugees, where they face language and cultural barriers. Little is known about their perceptions of Western medications or relationships with pharmacists.
Aim: To explore, from the refugees’ perspectives, the meanings that Western medications hold, how they prefer to communicate with healthcare providers and pharmacists, and the strategies they use to take medication properly.
Method: This mixed-methods study used a survey, an assessment of health literacy, and in-depth semi-structured interviews.
Results: The 21 respondents were born in Myanmar, had a median age of 64 years, little formal education, and low health literacy. Respondents reported positive attitudes toward Western medications and high adherence to prescribers’ instruction. Although they usually obtained medication at community pharmacies, respondents reported communication barriers and refugees’ knowledge of services available to them there was limited.
Conclusion: Community pharmacists need to be aware of the needs of their Chin patients and consider strategies to accommodate them.