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Bull World Health Organ. 2012 Jun 1;90(6):444-51. doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.097048. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Medical conditions among Iraqi refugees in Jordan: data from the United Nations Refugee Assistance Information System.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Room 627 Pathology Building, Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



To determine the range and burden of health services utilization among Iraqi refugees receiving health assistance in Jordan, a country of first asylum.


Medical conditions, diagnosed in accordance with the tenth revision of the International classification of diseases, were actively monitored from 1 January to 31 December 2010 using a pilot centralized database in Jordan called the Refugee Assistance Information System.


There were 27 166 medical visits by 7642 Iraqi refugees (mean age: 37.4 years; 49% male; 70% from Baghdad; 6% disabled; 3% with a history of torture). Chronic diseases were common, including essential hypertension (22% of refugees), visual disturbances (12%), joint disorders (11%) and type II diabetes mellitus (11%). The most common reasons for seeking acute care were upper respiratory tract infection (11%), supervision of normal pregnancy (4%) and urinary disorders (3%). The conditions requiring the highest number of visits per refugee were cerebrovascular disease (1.46 visits), senile cataract (1.46) and glaucoma (1.44). Sponsored care included 31 747 referrals or consultations to a specialty service, 18 432 drug dispensations, 2307 laboratory studies and 1090 X-rays. The specialties most commonly required were ophthalmology, dentistry, gynaecology and orthopaedic surgery.


Iraqi refugees in countries of first asylum and resettlement require targeted health services, health education and sustainable prevention and control strategies for predominantly chronic diseases.

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