Cite as: Hermans, M.P., Kooistra, J., Cannegieter, S.C., Rosendaal, F.R., Mook-Kanamori, D.O. and Nemeth, B., 2017, "Healthcare and disease burden among refugees in long-stay refugee camps at Lesbos, Greece", European Journal of Epidemiology, 32(9) : 851-854.
To assess current medical problems at two Greek refugee sites at Lesbos island (Camp Moria and Caritas hotel), to explore which care is needed and to assess how the provided healthcare can be improved.
In this dynamic cohort study all consecutive patients who visited doctors from the Boat Refugee Foundation were included.
Treatment Rates (TR) with 95% Confidence Intervals (95% CI) were calculated for all major health issues. Additionally, the provided health care was evaluated using the SPHERE project standards.
During the observation period of 30 March 2016 to 15 May 2016, 2291 persons were followed for a total of 289 person years (py). The median age of patients was 23.0 (IQR 8–38) years, 30.0% was aged <18. The healthcare demand was high with 3.6 patient visits per py. Upper respiratory tract infections were most commonly diagnosed with a TR of 89.6/100py (95% CI 78.7–10.1) followed by dental problems (TR 18.0/100py, 95% CI 13.1–22.9). The rate of suicide attempts was high at TR 1.4/100py (95% CI 0.03–2.8), and many psychological problems were diagnosed, TR 19.4/100py (95% CI 14.3–24.4). Major health care threats are the lack of a vaccination program, inadequate sanitation and hygiene, and severe overcrowding.
This study can help policy makers and Non-Governmental Organizations decide which health care is needed most in the current European refugee crisis. There is an urgent need for mental and dental healthcare. Furthermore, it is crucial that vaccination programs are initiated and “hotspot” camps should transform in camps designed for long-stay situations.
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