The Global Refugee Crisis: Changing Health Needs

The Global Refugee Crisis: Changing Health Needs

Hussam_Jefee-Bahloul
Photo_Spiegel
27 October 2017
10:45 am – 12:00 pm
  • Marriott Marquis

The Global Refugee Crisis: Changing Health Needs

Moderator: Nancy Shute
Organizer: Nancy Shute

An unprecedented 65 million people worldwide have been forced from their homes by war, persecution and violence. The refugee crisis has ensnared people in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas and Europe and shows no sign of abating. Many displaced people need care for trauma, malnutrition and infectious disease, and international aid organizations have specialized in providing rapid-response acute care.

But increasingly, refugees contend with chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney failure, and settle in middle-income urban areas. Adding to the challenge, people are increasingly being displaced for decades, not just months or years, leading host governments and aid groups to thinking beyond tents and camps and looking at experimenting with new methods of delivering health care and social services, including integrating refugees into the host country’s health care system and economy.

This session also explores the mental health needs of refugees, many of whom have been victims of violence, sexual exploitation and persecution in their native countries and during their travel. Depression, anxiety and PTSD can be amplified by cultural dislocation, language barriers and unemployment in their host countries.  Many people with untreated problems come from cultures where mental disorders are stigmatized, and having peers provide care in people’s native language can help overcome the stigma. We will discuss an experiment with mental health care delivery via telemedicine for Syrian refugees and the hidden crisis with trauma and mental health with migrants in Central America and Mexico.