[Mental and physical health problems of, and the use of healthcare by, Afghan, Iranian and Somali asylum seekers and refugees].Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2006 Sep 09; 150(36):1983-9.NT
To estimate the prevalence rates of mental and physical health problems and the use of healthcare services among adult asylum seekers and recognised refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia in the Netherlands.
Asylum seekers were approached in 14 reception centres and refugees were interviewed in 3 municipalities (Arnhem, Leiden and Zaanstad). Respondents were interviewed in their own language and asked questions pertaining to: general health, chronic complaints, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), symptoms of depression/ anxiety, the use of healthcare services (general practitioner, medical specialists, hospitalisation, mental-health services, medication) and background variables.
A total of 232 asylum seekers and 178 refugees participated (response rates of89% and 59%, respectively). Of these, 142 (61%) and 99 (56%), respectively were males and the average age was 34.4 (SD: 11.o) and 40.3 (SD: 13.3) years, respectively. Compared to refugees, asylum seekers more often considered their health to be poor (42% and 59%, respectively), had more symptoms of depression/anxiety (39% and 68%, respectively), and had more symptoms of PTSD (11% and 28%, respectively). No differences were found between refugees and asylum seekers in the self-reported use of healthcare services.
This study showed that asylum seekers have more health problems than refugees, but that there are no differences in the self-reported use of healthcare services. More research is needed to answer the question ifasylum seekers have sufficient access to the healthcare system.