Palestinians refugees wait at an UNRWA clinic to receive free medical check up from the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) teams in Gaza City | Photo: EPA/HAITHAM IMAD
Palestinians refugees wait at an UNRWA clinic to receive free medical check up from the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) teams in Gaza City | Photo: EPA/HAITHAM IMAD

The UN refugee agency UNHCR reports that in 2018, some 10.5 million refugees received health care through public health programs, UNHCR, and other partners worldwide.

Last year about 10.5 million refugees received health care through public health programs, the UNHCR, and other partners last year in the world. 


The figure was reported in UNHCR's annual Global Health Review. 

According to a statement released, the report ''highlights the state of health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene activities for refugees, asylum seekers and affected host communities across 51 refugee-host countries.

Figures in the report 

''With the majority of refugees, 84 percent, hosted in developing regions where basic services are already strained, national health systems need more support than ever to ensure refugees and their local host communities can access life-saving and essential health care," said UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo. 

The report shows that among progress made in 2018, mortality rates among refugee children under the age of five, an important health impact indicator in emergencies, continue to decline. ''Reported mortality rates of refugee children under five improved from an average of 0.4 per 1,000 every month in 2017 to 0.3 in 2018,'' the press release for the report added. 

''The report also highlights significant progress made on the inclusion of refugees into national health systems, with some countries also making notable efforts to expand opportunities to include refugees in health insurance schemes and other pillars of social protection,'' it said. 

''In 37 host countries, most refugees are able to get vaccinations and treatment for tuberculosis, HIV and malaria on an equal footing with nationals. Efforts also continued in 2018 to promote and facilitate access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including maternal and newborn health and family planning.'' 

Main issues with refugee health 

''Key areas of concern for refugee health however, include disease outbreaks in refugee contexts. Over the course of the year, UNHCR public health teams and partners responded to various outbreaks ranging from diphtheria and suspected measles in Bangladesh, to cholera and viral hemorrhagic fever in Kenya and Uganda,'' the press release said. 

''Malnutrition also remains a worrying refugee health issue. While improvements in Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates, one of the main nutrition indicators, were made in a number of refugee settings, when compared to the previous year, UNHCR is extremely concerned about the continued high levels of anemia and persistently high levels of stunting among many refugee populations,'' it said. 

Moreover, the ''integration of mental health into primary care remains a priority. Mental health consultations accounted for less than two percent, 154,000, of the total number of refugee health consultations, some 7.5 million, at UNHCR and partner health facilities in 2018.''
 

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