The physical health status, service utilisation and barriers to accessing care for asylum seekers residing in the community: a systematic review of the literature

Added March 7, 2016

Citation: Hadgkiss E.J., Renzaho A.M.N. The physical health status, service utilisation and barriers to accessing care for asylum seekers residing in the community: a systematic review of the literature. Australian Health Review 2014 May;38(2):142-159.

Asylum seekers appear to utilise health services at higher rates than the host population, yet face significant barriers to care. Studies that explore policy options, including cross-country comparisons, to foster equity of access and reduce health inequalities between asylum seekers and the host population are urgently required.

Asylum seekers residing in community settings while they await a decision on their refugee status have a disproportionate burden of physical morbidity, this review aimed to understand this disparity. Nine qualitative and 23 quantitative studies were identified. The quality and size of the studies was variable but 11 were judged to be of high quality. Asylum seekers have complex health profiles which include infectious diseases, chronic non-communicable conditions, and reproductive-health issues. Barriers to accessing health care include; affordability, literacy, perceived effectiveness and quality of health services, mistrust, discrimination, linguistic and cultural factors.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.

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