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Med J Aust. 2006 Dec 4-18;185(11-12):602-6.

Health issues in newly arrived African refugees attending general practice clinics in Melbourne.

Author information

1
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify the most common health issues diagnosed by general practitioners in newly arrived African refugees.

DESIGN:

Descriptive study based on a purposive sample of six GPs to collate data from medical records of patients from African countries who had attended their clinics for the first time between 1 January and 30 June 2005.

SETTING:

Two community health centres and two private general practices in metropolitan Melbourne.

PARTICIPANTS:

African refugee patients who arrived in Australia after 1 June 2004 and were seen by the six participating GPs between 1 January and 30 June 2005.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Demographic characteristics, laboratory test results and final diagnoses.

RESULTS:

Data were collected from 258 patient files. Most patients were from Sudan (57%) or Liberia (17%). Half were aged under 15 years. The most common health problems identified were inadequate vaccinations, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin D and iron), infectious diseases (gastrointestinal infections, schistosomiasis, and latent tuberculosis) and dental disease. Musculoskeletal, psychological and social problems were common in adults. 37% of patients were tested for latent tuberculosis, and 25% of these tested positive.

CONCLUSIONS:

African refugees require comprehensive health assessments for undiagnosed and untreated health problems. While most of the common diseases identified are non-communicable, if left untreated they will affect the long-term health and productivity of new settlers.

PMID:
17181501
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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