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Medical needs of adolescent refugees resettling in Western Australia
  1. Kajal Hirani1,2,
  2. Donald N Payne1,2,
  3. Raewyn Mutch1,2,3,4,
  4. Sarah Cherian2,4
  1. 1Department of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2Division of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4Refugee Health Service, Department of General Paediatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kajal Hirani, Department of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA 6008, Australia; kajal.hirani{at}research.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

Objective To investigate the medical needs and socioeconomic determinants of health among adolescent refugees resettling in Western Australia.

Design Comprehensive medical and socioeconomic health data of resettling adolescent refugees aged 12 years and above attending a Refugee Health Service over a 1-year period were analysed.

Results Medical records of 122 adolescents, median (range) age of 14 (12–17) years, were reviewed. Socioeconomic vulnerabilities included dependence on government financial support (50%), housing issues (27%) and child protection service involvement (11%). Medical concerns included non-communicable disorders (85%), infectious diseases (81%), nutrition/growth (71%) and physical symptoms of non-organic origin (43%). One quarter (27%) of female adolescents had sexual/reproductive health issues. A median (range) of 5 (2–12) health concerns were identified for each adolescent with 49% requiring referral to subspecialty services.

Conclusion Resettling adolescent refugees are socioeconomically vulnerable with a range of medical issues that frequently require additional subspecialty health referrals.

  • adolescent health
  • refugee health
  • asylum seeker
  • migration
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Footnotes

  • Contributors KH conceptualised and designed the study, collected data, conducted statistical analyses, drafted the initial manuscript and reviewed and revised the manuscript. SC, DNP and RM conceptualised and designed the study, supervised data collection, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript.

  • Funding KH is the recipient of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Scholarship 2018 (Royal Australasian College of Physicians NHMRC awards for excellence), the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation Fellowship 2016–2017 and the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation Seeding Grant (ID No: 9546).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval PMH Human Research Ethics Committee (2014052EP) and University of WA Ethics Committee (RA/4/1/7370).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no additional unpublished data from this research study.

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