Public Health Aspects of Refugee Health: A Review of the Evidence on Health Status for Refugees Globally

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art002

Authors : Krishan Puri


Introduction: Asylum seekers and refugees are identified as those who did not make voluntary choice to leave their origin country and cannot return home safely. Internally displaced persons and refuges are extremely vulnerable to human rights abuses, especially the absence and denial of mental and physical health care. For more than 50years, the fundamental framework of refugee protection has been established and accepted globally. The lack of respect to human rights of refugees and failure to provide adequate humanitarian help such as health care. The Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declarations of Human Rights, Statute of the office of the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, all establish international standards for private and governments organizations that set guidelines for assimilation and repatriation of refugees that create international standards.

Methods: The study was conducted through a systematic literature review of articles dating between 2001 and 2015 on Embase, PsychInfo, Medline and Cochrane Controlled Trials, UNHCR, IOM and World Health Organization databases. The study decided on the articles to review by reading abstracts to determine inclusion of data about the health status of either the internally displaced person or the refugees. The abstracts were selected randomly and independently. A limited random search of the reference lists of all included studies was also undertaken. And also few English language studies of evaluated primary health care models of care for refugees in developed countries of resettlement were included.

Results: The internally displaced people’s and refugees are extremely vulnerable to human rights abuses From the research, it is clear that across the globe, access of primary healthcare amongst the refugees is overwhelmingly shaped by the regulations of the migration process and legal frameworks of individual states and nations. The study discusses that there is a primary need for advanced communication with refugees and coordination of activities between agencies either public or private within and beyond the health care structure. The study seeks to unveil the channels that create the neglect of refugees’ right to a chance of survival. The study recommends that improved data are imperative towards supporting inter-sectorial work in addressing health care needs of refugees.

Keywords: Refugee health, public health, migration health, healthcare, global


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