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Does refugee status matter? Medical needs of newly arrived asylum seekers and resettlement refugees - a retrospective observational study of diagnoses in a primary care setting.

ABSTRACT: Background:Providing adequate healthcare to newly arrived refugees is considered one of the significant challenges for the German healthcare system. These refugees can be classified mainly into two groups: asylum seekers (who have applied for asylum after arrival in Germany and are waiting for the refugee-status decision) and resettlement refugees (who have already been granted asylum status before arriving in Germany). Whereas earlier studies have explored the health status of asylum seekers especially in terms of mental and behavioural disorders and infectious diseases without distinguishing between these two groups, our study aims to evaluate possible relationships of asylum status and medical needs of these two groups with a special focus on mental and behavioural disorders and infectious diseases. Methods:In this retrospective observational study, collected data on all asylum-seeker and resettlement-refugee patients (N = 2252) of a German reception centre (August 2017 to August 2018) is analysed by absolute and relative frequencies and medians. Patient data, collected by chart review, include age, gender, country of origin, asylum status, and diagnoses (ICD-10). To describe the relationship between sociodemographic factors (including asylum status) and diagnoses, we used tests of significance and bivariate correlations with Spearman correlation coefficients. All collected data are pseudonymised. Results:Of all 2252 patients, 43% were resettlement refugees. In almost all ICD-10 categories, asylum seekers received significantly more diagnoses than resettlement refugees. According to our data, asylum seekers presented with mental and behavioural disorders nine times more often (9%) than resettlement refugees (1%). In the case of infectious diseases, the results are mixed: asylum seekers were twice as frequently (11%) diagnosed with certain infectious and parasitic diseases than resettlement refugees (5%), but resettlement refugees were treated twice as often (22% of the asylum seekers and 41% of the resettlement refugees) for diseases of the respiratory system, of which 84% were acute respiratory infections (in both groups). Conclusion:This study indicates that patients with unregulated migration more frequently present symptoms of psychiatric diseases and somatoform symptoms than resettlement refugees. A health policy approach within migration policy should aim to enable persecuted persons to migrate under regulated and safe conditions. Trial registration:German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00013076, retrospectively registered on 29.09.2017.

SUBMITTER: Kleinert E 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6700982 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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