Assessing asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants.
ABSTRACT: SummaryIdentifying the causes of psychiatric and physical symptoms in asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants and making definitive diagnoses can be challenging. Ethical and legal challenges in the UK include the likely deterrent effects of upfront charging for National Health Service (NHS) services. This paper focuses on the fictitious case of an asylum seeker presenting to a mental health service in England, highlighting some of the difficulties in assessing and treating this patient group and providing advice to clinicians on clinical and practical management. Current NHS entitlements for migrants are summarised and a list is presented in the online supplement of non-governmental organisations that can provide further support.
Project description:During the current period of immigration to Western Europe, national healthcare systems are confronted with high numbers of asylum seekers with largely unknown health status. To improve care taking strategies, we assessed healthcare utilization in a large, representative cohort of newly arriving migrants consisting of n = 1533 residents of a reception center in Northern Germany in 2015. Most asylum seekers were young, male adults, and the majority came from the Eastern Mediterranean region. Overall, we observed a frequency of 0.03 visits to the onsite primary healthcare ward per asylum seeker and day of camp residence (IQR 0.0?0.07, median duration of residence 38.0 days, IQR 30.0?54.25). Female asylum seekers showed higher healthcare utilization rates than their male counterparts, and healthcare utilization was particularly low in asylum seekers in their second decade of life. Furthermore, a significant correlation between time after camp entrance and healthcare utilization behavior occurred: During the first week of camp residence, 37.1 visits/100 asylum seekers were observed, opposed to only 9.5 visits/100 asylum seekers during the sixth week of camp residence. This first data on healthcare utilization in a large, representative asylum seeker cohort entering Western Europe during the current crisis shows that primary care is most needed in the first period directly after arrival. Our dataset may help to raise awareness for refugee and migrant healthcare needs and to adapt care taking strategies accordingly.
Project description:An estimated 2 million foreign-born migrants of working age (15-64) were living in South Africa (SA) in 2017. Structural and practical xenophobia has driven asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants in SA to abject poverty and misery. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) containment measures adopted by the SA government through the lockdown of the nation have tremendously deepened the unequal treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees in SA. This can be seen through the South African government's lack of consideration of this marginalized population in economic, poverty, and hunger alleviation schemes. Leaving this category of our society out of the national response safety nets may lead to negative coping strategies causing mental health issues and secondary health concerns. An effective response to the socioeconomic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic should consider the economic and health impact of the pandemic on asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants.
Project description:An unprecedented rise in the number of asylum seekers and refugees was seen in Europe in 2015, and it seems that numbers are not going to be reduced considerably in 2016. Several studies have tried to estimate risk of infectious diseases associated with migration but only very rarely these studies make a distinction on reason for migration. In these studies, workers, students, and refugees who have moved to a foreign country are all taken to have the same disease epidemiology. A common disease epidemiology across very different migrant groups is unlikely, so in this review of infectious diseases in asylum seekers and refugees, we describe infectious disease prevalence in various types of migrants. We identified 51 studies eligible for inclusion. The highest infectious disease prevalence in refugee and asylum seeker populations have been reported for latent tuberculosis (9-45%), active tuberculosis (up to 11%), and hepatitis B (up to 12%). The same population had low prevalence of malaria (7%) and hepatitis C (up to 5%). There have been recent case reports from European countries of cutaneous diphtheria, louse-born relapsing fever, and shigella in the asylum-seeking and refugee population. The increased risk that refugees and asylum seekers have for infection with specific diseases can largely be attributed to poor living conditions during and after migration. Even though we see high transmission in the refugee populations, there is very little risk of spread to the autochthonous population. These findings support the efforts towards creating a common European standard for the health reception and reporting of asylum seekers and refugees.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Asylum seekers (AS) and undocumented migrants (UM) are at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes due to adverse health determinants and compromised maternal healthcare access and service quality. Considering recent migratory patterns and the absence of a robust overview, a systematic review was conducted on maternal and perinatal outcomes in AS and UM in Europe. METHODS:Systematic literature searches were performed in MEDLINE and EMBASE (until 1 May 2017), complemented by a grey literature search (until 1 June 2017). Primary research articles reporting on any maternal or perinatal outcome, published between 2007 and 2017 in English/Dutch were eligible for inclusion. Review protocols were registered on Prospero: CRD42017062375 and CRD42017062477. Due to heterogeneity in study populations and outcomes, results were synthesized narratively. RESULTS:Of 4652 peer-reviewed articles and 145 grey literature sources screened, 11 were included from 4 European countries. Several studies reported adverse outcomes including higher maternal mortality (AS), severe acute maternal morbidity (AS), preterm birth (UM) and low birthweight (UM). Risk of bias was generally acceptable, although the limited number and quality of some studies preclude definite conclusions. CONCLUSION:Limited evidence is available on pregnancy outcomes in AS and UM in Europe. The adverse outcomes reported imply that removing barriers to high-quality maternal care should be a priority. More research focussing on migrant subpopulations, considering potential risk factors such as ethnicity and legal status, is needed to guide policy and optimize care.
Project description:Global migration is at an all-time high with implications for perinatal health. Migrant women, especially asylum seekers and refugees, represent a particularly vulnerable group. Understanding the impact on the perinatal health of women and offspring is an important prerequisite to improving care and outcomes. The aim of this systematic review was to summarise the current evidence base on perinatal health outcomes and care among women with asylum seeker or refugee status.Twelve electronic database, reference list and citation searches (1 January 2007-July 2017) were carried out between June and July 2017. Quantitative and qualitative systematic reviews, published in the English language, were included if they reported perinatal health outcomes or care and clearly stated that they included asylum seekers or refugees. Screening for eligibility, data extraction, quality appraisal and evidence synthesis were carried out in duplicate. The results were summarised narratively.Among 3415 records screened, 29 systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria. Only one exclusively focussed on asylum seekers; the remaining reviews grouped asylum seekers and refugees with wider migrant populations. Perinatal outcomes were predominantly worse among migrant women, particularly mental health, maternal mortality, preterm birth and congenital anomalies. Access and use of care was obstructed by structural, organisational, social, personal and cultural barriers. Migrant women's experiences of care included negative communication, discrimination, poor relationships with health professionals, cultural clashes and negative experiences of clinical intervention. Additional data for asylum seekers and refugees demonstrated complex obstetric issues, sexual assault, offspring mortality, unwanted pregnancy, poverty, social isolation and experiences of racism, prejudice and stereotyping within perinatal healthcare.This review identified adverse pregnancy outcomes among asylum seeker and refugee women, representing a double burden of inequality for one of the most globally vulnerable groups of women. Improvements in the provision of perinatal healthcare could reduce inequalities in adverse outcomes and improve women's experiences of care. Strategies to overcome barriers to accessing care require immediate attention. The systematic review evidence base is limited by combining heterogeneous migrant, asylum seeker and refugee populations, inconsistent use of definitions and limited data on some perinatal outcomes and risk factors. Future research needs to overcome these limitations to improve data quality and address inequalities.Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD42017073315 .
Project description:The rising rate of conflicts and the unsafe situation caused by reasons of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political opinion, or nationality entail an increase in the number of migratory movements. The goal of this article is to describe the health status of asylum seekers visited in an international health center. We conducted a retrospective study of the asylum seekers visited between July 2013 and June 2016. A total of 303 cases were included. The median age was 28.0 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 21-35), and 203 (67.0%) were men. Of the total, 128 cases (42.2%) were from Asia, 82 (27.1%) from Eastern Europe, 42 (13.9%) from sub-Saharan Africa, 34 (11.2%) from America, and 17 (5.6%) from Maghreb. The majority, 287 (94.7%), were asymptomatic. Seventy of the 303 (23.1%) cases were diagnosed with at least one infection, this being more prevalent in men; migrants from sub-Saharan Africa; and in those who took a land-maritime migratory route. Eight of the 303 (2.6%) cases were referred to the transcultural psychiatric department. Two important challenges of the study were the communication barriers and the legal or social situation that condition the psychological symptoms. In 48 of the 303 (15.8%) cases, there was diagnosed a noncommunicable diseases. The process of care was completed by 82.5%; although 21.9% completed the vaccination for hepatitis B. The asylum seekers in this study were in general healthy young men, although special attention was given to infectious diseases with certain geoepidemiological backgrounds. Unstable living arrangements, linguistic, and cultural barriers could account for the failure of the course of care.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Health, well-being and health service needs of asylum seekers have emerged as urgent topics following the arrival of 2.5 million asylum seekers to the European Union (EU) between 2015 and 2016. However, representative information on the health, well-being and service needs of asylum seekers is scarce. The Asylum Seekers Health and Wellbeing (TERTTU) Survey aims to: (1) gather population-based representative information; (2) identify key indicators for systematic monitoring; (3) produce the evidence base for development of systematic screening of asylum seekers' health, well-being and health service needs. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:TERTTU Survey is a population-based prospective study with a total population sample of newly arrived asylum seekers to Finland, including adults and children. Baseline data collection is carried out in reception centres in 2018 and consists of a face-to-face interview, self-administered questionnaire and a health examination following a standardised protocol. Altogether 1000 asylum seekers will be included into the study. Baseline data will be followed up with national electronic health record data encompassing the entire asylum process and later with national register data among persons who receive residency permits. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethical approval has been granted by the Coordinating Ethics Committee of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District. Participation is voluntary and based on written informed consent. Results will be widely disseminated on a national and international level to inform health and welfare policy as well as development of services for asylum seekers. Results of the study will constitute the evidence base for development and implementation of the initial health assessment for asylum seekers on a national level.
Project description:Over one million asylum seekers were registered in Germany in 2016, most from Syria and Afghanistan. The Refugee Convention guarantees access to healthcare, however delivery mechanisms remain heterogeneous. There is an urgent need for more data describing the health conditions of asylum seekers to guide best practices for healthcare delivery. In this study, we describe the state of health of asylum seekers presenting to a multi-specialty primary care refugee clinic.Demographic and medical diagnosis data were extracted from the electronic medical records of patients seen at the ambulatory refugee clinic in Dresden, Germany between 15 September 2015 and 31 December 2016. Data were de-identified and analyzed using Stata version 14.0.Two-thousand-seven-hundred and fifty-three individual patients were seen in the clinic. Of these, 2232 (81.1%) were insured by the state indicating arrival within the last 3 months. The median age was 25, interquartile range 16-34. Only 786 (28.6%) were female, while 1967 (71.5%) were male. The most frequent diagnoses were respiratory (17.4%), followed by miscellaneous symptoms and otherwise not classified ailments (R series, 14.1%), infection (10.8%), musculoskeletal or connective tissue (9.3%), gastrointestinal (6.8%), injury (5.9%), and mental or behavioral (5.1%) categories.This study illustrates the diverse medical conditions that affect the asylum seeker population. Asylum seekers in our study group did not have a high burden of communicable diseases, however several warranted additional screening and treatment, including for tuberculosis and scabies. Respiratory illnesses were more common amongst newly arrived refugees. Trauma-related mental health disorders comprised half of mental health diagnoses.
Project description:Forced displacement related to persecution and violent conflict has reached a new peak in recent years. The primary aim of this study is to provide an initial overview of the acute and chronic health care problems of asylum seekers from the Middle East, with special emphasis on asylum seekers from Syria.Our retrospective data analysis comprised adult patients presenting to our emergency department between 01.11.2011 and 30.06.2014 with the official resident status of an "asylum seeker" or "refugee" from the Middle East.In total, 880 patients were included in the study. Of these, 625 (71.0%) were male and 255 (29.0%) female. The median age was 34 (range 16-84). 222 (25.2%) of our patients were from Syria. The most common reason for presentation was surgical (381, 43.3%), followed by medical (321, 36.5%) and psychiatric (137, 15.6%). In patients with surgical presentations, trauma-related problems were most common (n = 196, 50.6%). Within the group of patients with medical presentation, acute infectious diseases were most common (n = 141, 43.9%), followed by neurological problems (n = 70, 21.8%) and gastrointestinal problems (n = 47, 14.6%). There were no differences between Syrian and non-Syrian refugees concerning surgical or medical admissions. The most common chronic disorder of unclear significance was chronic gastrointestinal problems (n = 132, 15%), followed by chronic musculoskeletal problems (n = 108, 12.3%) and chronic headaches (n = 78, 8.9%). Patients from Syria were significantly younger and more often suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder than patients of other nationalities (p<0.0001, and p = 0.05, respectively).Overall a remarkable number of our very young group of patients suffered from psychiatric disorders and unspecified somatic symptoms. Asylum seekers should be carefully evaluated when presenting to a medical facility and physicians should be aware of the high incidence of unspecified somatic symptoms in this patient population.In general, there is no major difference between asylum seekers from Syria when compared to other nationalities of asylum seekers from the Middle East.
Project description:Individuals who seek asylum are frequently fleeing violent persecution and may experience head injury (HI). However, little is known about the prevalence of HI in asylum seekers and refugees (ASR) despite the potential for HI to significantly affect cognitive and emotional functioning and to compromise asylum outcomes. This preliminary study investigates the prevalence of HI in ASR referred to a complex psychological trauma service.Participants were 115 adult ASR referred to a community psychological trauma service with moderate to severe mental health problems associated with psychological trauma. They were screened for a history of HI using a questionnaire developed for the study. Interpreters were used when required.The overall prevalence of HI was 51%. At least 38% of those with HI had a moderate-severe HI that could cause persisting disability. In 53% of those with HI, the cause was torture, human trafficking or domestic violence. Repeat HI can have cumulative effects on function; it was common, and was reported in 68% of those with HI. An injury to the head was not known to mental health clinicians prior to screening in 64% of cases.The emotional and cognitive consequences of HI in ASR may increase the vulnerability of this disadvantaged group, and can be associated with neurobehavioural problems affecting daily life and may compromise asylum outcomes. Routine screening for HI in ASR is needed, as are links to neuropsychology and brain injury services for advice, assessment and intervention.