A Global Perspective on Asylum Seekers Child Healthcare
The health care of asylum seekers is a growing concern in the field of pediatrics, and there is a growing body of knowledge on the subject. The medical needs of asylum seekers require complex care and frequent health care visits. These children often have medical issues that were poorly treated in their countries of origin and exacerbated upon their escape. As a result, they often need more intensive treatment than their local peers.
Pediatric asylum-seeking vs non-asylum-seeking patients
Recent research has focused on identifying medical disparities between asylum-seeking and non-asylum-seeking children and comparing their health care needs with those of their local peers. The researchers found that compared to their non-asylum-seeking peers, asylum-seeking children required more frequent and more expensive health care visits.
The study found that asylum-seeking children are more likely to be hospitalized for diseases that could be treated or prevented with early detection. Asylum-seeking children are also more likely to be diagnosed with diseases that may otherwise be curable through outpatient care.
A systematic literature review conducted in 2011 found that the rates of hospital admission and intensive care among asylum-seeking children were higher than those of non-asylum-seeking children. These patients also had higher rates of dental and mental health consultations. In addition, a recent study of asylum-seeking children in hospital settings showed that they were more likely to develop local infections than their non-asylum-seeking counterparts.
Children in refugee camps and asylum-seekers in the EU are at increased risk for contracting infectious diseases, which can have significant implications for their overall health and well-being. These children are also at risk of mental and physical health problems, which makes it even more important for health services to provide quality health care to these children.
A number of countries have developed guidelines on the screening and treatment of infectious diseases in asylum seekers and migrants. However, most of these guidelines are geared towards migrants who have migrated from countries outside the European Union, not those who have been permanently assigned to a residence area.
There is an urgent need for more research into the causes and treatment of mental disorders in asylum seeker children. Increasing numbers of refugees are experiencing traumatic events and traumatizing experiences, resulting in increased prevalence of mental disorders. There is also an urgent need to improve mental health care services for this vulnerable population.
The high prevalence of mental disorders among refugee children is a concern for policymakers and health practitioners. The traumatic experiences that many children experience during the displacement process, the displacement itself, and the new environment that follows can negatively impact their mental health. Among refugees, the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders is much higher than in the general population. The lack of accurate prevalence estimates will impede efforts to increase awareness and mobilize resources.
Previous studies have focused on PTSD and other psychological disorders in refugee children. However, a comprehensive review in 2005 identified only five studies reporting a prevalence rate of PTSD in children. In the five studies, 260 refugee children were included, and 11% of them were diagnosed with PTSD. The children were drawn from Iran, Kurdistan, and Central America.
School-based programs for prevention of mental health problems in refugees
Refugee youth often struggle to adapt to their new surroundings. A school setting may be the first opportunity for them to socialize with others and navigate a new culture. School-based mental health programs can help them overcome these barriers. However, to be effective, school-based mental health programs must be culturally sensitive and supported by school personnel.
School-based mental health interventions are particularly important for refugee youth. However, the research available on the effects of such programs is limited. In Sweden, for example, a program called TRT has reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in youth. It also improved multicultural competence and teacher-parent relationships.
Policy options for Asylum Seekers child health care are critical in supporting this vulnerable group. Children can be exposed to environmental and non-infectious health hazards during their migration journey, and it can be difficult to determine if they are receiving the right care. To help ensure that children receive the best care, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has developed resources, including flowcharts and flowsheets, to assist healthcare professionals.
Recent consultations on UK government policy to restrict access to NHS health care for certain asylum seekers and refugees have highlighted the ethical and moral issues associated with selectively barring people from health care. This approach is unethical and inequitable and risks exacerbate the existing inequalities. Further, it risks creating a new population of vulnerable people who have no access to health services.