Behaviour and Socioeconomic Factors of Undocumented Migrants Missing Antiretroviral Therapy Clinic Appointments in Limpopo Province

Mygirl Pearl Lowane1, *
, Rachel Tsakani Lebese2

1 Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
2 Department of Nursing Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Lowane and Lebese.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa; Tel: 012 521 4969;



Global migration is increasingly driven by socioeconomic and political unrest, raising a potentially challenging burden for healthcare systems. A significant group of non-South African citizens present in the country are undocumented migrants and have not restricted access to healthcare services.


This study explored the behaviour and socioeconomic factors of undocumented migrants missing Antiretroviral Therapy clinic appointments.


A qualitative cross-sectional approach was used. Semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis of 17 undocumented migrants, who missed more than four appointments in the first 12 months since antiretroviral therapy initiation, were conducted. Thematic analysis and coding categorised the findings into themes. Reliability and validity were ensured through intercoder agreement, audio recording, triangulation, bracketing, and member checking.


The finding revealed that registering to more than one healthcare facility, self-transfer to another facility, and job hunting resulted in clients missing their scheduled appointments.


The conclusion drawn from this study is that the Electronic Patient Management System must improve to control the number of clients missing clinic appointments.

Keywords: Migration, Undocumented migrants, Missed appointments, Antiretroviral therapy, Self-transfer, Electronic patient management system.