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Aust Health Rev. 2009 Nov;33(4):618-27.

Refugees and oral health: lessons learned from stories of Hazara refugees.

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NSW Refugee Health Service.


Australia is one of a few countries with a resettlement program for refugees. The organisation and provision of health services for refugees pose challenges to health service managers and service providers. Some groups have experienced severe trauma and, in the case of Hazara refugees, years of persecution and displacement. This qualitative study gained access to Hazara refugees in order to gain an understanding of their oral health experiences and to seek participant views on factors that impacted on their oral health status. All participants had poor oral health status, multiple tooth extractions, and had placed a low priority on their oral health. They had experienced violence and traumatic events associated with war and looting. Participants reported that they had limited access to dental practitioners and oral education; lived for extended periods with oral pain and untreated oral problems; and treated oral pain with traditional pain remedies and tooth extractions. Service providers need to consider that elements of the refugee experience may affect health-seeking behavior and adherence to treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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