Reportable neurologic diseases in refugee camps in 19 countries

Department of Neurology, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.29). 08/2012; 79(9):937-40. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318266fcf1
Source: PubMed


Approximately one-third of refugees worldwide live in refugee camps. Selected neurologic diseases are actively reported in some refugee camps.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees monitors health visits in refugee camps with the assistance of more than 25 partner organizations using standardized case definitions. Neurologic diseases were selected and searched for the years 2008 to 2011. The number of health care visits for a neurologic disease was calculated and divided by the aggregated number of reporting months available for each refugee camp ("visits per camp-month").
Five neurologic diseases were reported from 127 refugee camps in 19 countries. Visits for chronic, noncommunicable diseases including epilepsy (53,941 visits in 1,426 camp-months, 48% female) and cerebrovascular disease (4,028 visits in 1,333 camp-months, 51% female) far exceeded those for neurologic infectious diseases (acute flaccid paralysis/poliomyelitis, 78 visits in 3,816 camp-months, 42% female; leprosy, 74 visits in 3,816 camp-months, 66% female; meningitis, 477 visits in 3,816 camp-months, 51% female). In 2011, these diseases accounted for 31,349 visits globally with 91% of visits for epilepsy.
Targeted programs addressing epilepsy and stroke among refugees in camps should become a priority and indicate that other chronic neurologic diseases that may be under- or misdiagnosed may also be common in refugee camps. Given that significant under-reporting is likely, our findings demonstrate the pressing need for coordinated preventive and interventional measures for epilepsy and stroke in refugee camps.

10 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Italian Committee of medical residents in Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health is a member of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health with the aim of developing a network among Italian resident in public health and promoting the educational path improvement through comparisons and debates between postgraduate medical schools. In this perspective, during last years account has been taken of some essential topics concerning education of public health medical residents, which represent future health-care and public health experts. Cross-sectional researches were conducted among Italian public health medical residents (PHMRs) through self-administered and web-based questionnaires. Each questionnaire was previously validated by pilot studies conducted during the 46th National Conference of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health. Seventy percent of Italian PHMRs considered the actual length of Public Health postgraduate medical school excessively long, with regard to predetermined educational goals. Confirming this statement, 90% of respondents were inclined to a reduction from 5 to 4 years of postgraduate medical school length, established by Law Decree 104/2013. Seventy seven percent of surveyed PHMRs stand up for a rearrangement on a national setting of the access contest to postgraduate medical schools. Moreover 1/3 of Italian schools performed less than 75%of learning and qualifying activities specified in Ministerial Decree of August 2005. In particular, data analysis showed considerable differences among Italian postgraduate schools. Finally, in 2015 only four Italian Universities (Napoli Federico II, Palermo, Pavia, Roma Tor Vergata) provide for the Second Level Master qualify for the functions of occupational doctor. This offer makes available 60 positions against a request of over 200 future Public Health medical doctors who have shown interest in the Master. In Italy, after the introduction of Ministerial Decree 285/2005, the educational course of PHMRs was significantly improved. The standardization of learning and qualifying activities allowed for the first time the attendance at medical directions or Local Health Units. Nevertheless, the excessive lenght of postgradute schools and the differences about training among Italian Universities are critical and actual issue. Moreover, the remarkable interest shown by PHMRs in the Master could suggest a poor job replacement prospect for young medical specialist in Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
    Epidemiologia e prevenzione 11/2014; 38(6 Suppl 2):115-9. · 0.78 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Population-based epidemiological research has established that refugee populations have an increased risk of mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders. However, such studies typically do not provide insight into the types of problems actually treated in refugee camp primary care settings, which is vital information for resource allocation and planning. Method Data were collected from 90 refugee camps in 15 countries from January 2009-April 2013 utilizing the Health Information System (HIS) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The HIS database includes the raw number of visits to primary care settings for 7 MNS categories stratified by sex and age: epilepsy/seizure; alcohol/substance use disorder; mental retardation/ intellectual disability; psychotic disorder; emotional disorder; other psychological complaint; and medically unexplained somatic complaint. Results A total of 211,728 new and revisit cases were reported. The greatest proportion of MNS visits was attributable to epilepsy/seizures (46.9% of male visits; 35.1% of female visits) and psychotic disorders (25.9% of male visits; 20.0% of female visits). Conclusion Our finding that epilepsy/seizures and psychotic disorders accounted for the highest proportion of all MNS visits in refugee camp clinics underscores the necessity for refugee health systems to be able to manage severe neuropsychiatric disorders in addition to common (trauma-related) mental disorders such as PTSD and depression. The relatively low rates of identified emotional and substance use problems – compared to high population-based rates - suggest that many MNS problems among refugees remain unattended.
    142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2014; 11/2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Population-based epidemiological research has established that refugees in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are at increased risk for a range of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) problems. Improved knowledge of rates for MNS problems that are treated in refugee camp primary care settings is needed to identify service gaps and inform resource allocation. This study estimates contact coverage of MNS services in refugee camps by presenting rates of visits to camp primary care centers for treatment of MNS problems utilizing surveillance data from the Health Information System (HIS) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.Methods Data were collected between January 2009 and March 2013 from 90 refugee camps across 15 LMIC. Visits to primary care settings were recorded for seven MNS categories: epilepsy/seizure; alcohol/substance use; mental retardation/intellectual disability; psychotic disorder; emotional disorder; medically unexplained somatic complaint; and other psychological complaint. The proportion of MNS visits attributable to each of the seven categories is presented by country, sex and age group. The data were combined with camp population data to generate rates of MNS visits per 1,000 persons per month, an estimate of contact coverage.ResultsRates of visits for MNS problems ranged widely across countries, from 0.24 per 1,000 persons per month in Zambia to 23.69 in Liberia. Rates of visits for epilepsy were higher than any of the other MNS categories in nine of fifteen countries. The largest proportion of MNS visits overall was attributable to epilepsy/seizure (46.91% male/35.13% female) and psychotic disorders (25.88% male/19.98% female). Among children under five, epilepsy/seizure (82.74% male/82.29% female) also accounted for the largest proportion of MNS visits.Conclusions Refugee health systems must be prepared to manage severe neuropsychiatric disorders in addition to mental conditions associated with stress. Relatively low rates of emotional and substance use visits in primary care, compared to high prevalence of such conditions in epidemiological studies suggest that many MNS problems remain unattended by refugee health services. Wide disparity in rates across countries warrants additional investigation into help seeking behaviors of refugees and the capacity of health systems to correctly identify and manage diverse MNS problems.
    BMC Medicine 11/2014; 12(1):228. DOI:10.1186/PREACCEPT-2736053141039589 · 7.25 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications