Health Status of Afghan Refugees in Europe: Policy and Practice Implications for an Optimised Healthcare.

Matsangos, Michael; Ziaka, Laoura; Exadaktylos, Aristomenis K; Klukowska-Rötzler, Jolanta; Ziaka, Mairi (2022). Health Status of Afghan Refugees in Europe: Policy and Practice Implications for an Optimised Healthcare. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(15) MDPI 10.3390/ijerph19159157

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Four decades of civil war, violence, and destabilisation have forced millions of Afghans to flee their homes and to move to other countries worldwide. This increasing phenomenon may challenge physicians unfamiliar with the health status of this population, which may be markedly different from that of the host country. Moreover, several factors during their migration, such as transport in closed containers, accidental injuries, malnutrition, and accommodation in detention centres and refugee camps have a major influence on the health of refugees. By taking into account the variety of the specific diseases among migrant groups, the diversity of the origins of refugees and asylum seekers, and the increasing numbers of Afghan refugees, in this review we focus on the population of Afghans and describe their health status with the aim of optimising our medical approach and management. Our literature review shows that the most prevalent reported infections are tuberculosis and other respiratory tract infections and parasitic diseases, for example leishmaniasis, malaria, and intestinal parasitic infections. Anaemia, hyperlipidaemia, arterial hypertension, diabetes, smoking, overweight, malnutrition, low socioeconomic status, and poor access to healthcare facilities are additional risk factors for non-communicable diseases among Afghan refugees. With regards mental health issues, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the most common diagnoses and culture shock and the feeling of being uprooted modulate their persistence. Further research is needed in order to provide us with extensive, high-quality data about the health status of Afghan refugees. The main objective of this review is to identify protective factors which could ensure key health concepts and good clinical practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center

UniBE Contributor:

Exadaktylos, Aristomenis, Klukowska-Rötzler, Jolanta


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

16 Aug 2022 08:03

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:22

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Afghan refugees asylum seekers policy and practice biopsychosocial factors communicable diseases displacement epigenetic changes health status internal conflicts mental health migration non-communicable diseases sexual violence war women’s healthcare




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