The health impacts of the refugee crisis: a medical charity perspective

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Abstract

Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and persecution have travelled from the Middle East to Europe. Arduous journeys and poor living conditions are causing myriad health problems and access to basic healthcare is extremely limited for those on the move. At every stage of the journey, people are suffering, including after they settle in Europe. The difficulty in managing non-communicable diseases means that some refugees are not getting the treatment they need, which in the long term can have a significant adverse impact on their health. Pregnant women are frequently unable to access antenatal care in Europe and the vaccination rate for refugee children is worrying low. Those who have suffered traumatic experiences in their home country are highly susceptible to developing psychological problems; an issue compounded by poverty, their displacement and being victims of violence.

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