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Open AccessArticle

Healthcare Utilization in a Large Cohort of Asylum Seekers Entering Western Europe in 2015

1
Department of Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology, and Neonatology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
2
German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hannover-Braunschweig, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
3
German Center for Lung Research, Biomedical Research in End Stage and Obstructive Lung Disease/BREATH Hannover, 30625 Hannover, Germany
4
Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
5
Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102163
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
During the current period of immigration to Western Europe, national healthcare systems are confronted with high numbers of asylum seekers with largely unknown health status. To improve care taking strategies, we assessed healthcare utilization in a large, representative cohort of newly arriving migrants consisting of n = 1533 residents of a reception center in Northern Germany in 2015. Most asylum seekers were young, male adults, and the majority came from the Eastern Mediterranean region. Overall, we observed a frequency of 0.03 visits to the onsite primary healthcare ward per asylum seeker and day of camp residence (IQR 0.0–0.07, median duration of residence 38.0 days, IQR 30.0–54.25). Female asylum seekers showed higher healthcare utilization rates than their male counterparts, and healthcare utilization was particularly low in asylum seekers in their second decade of life. Furthermore, a significant correlation between time after camp entrance and healthcare utilization behavior occurred: During the first week of camp residence, 37.1 visits/100 asylum seekers were observed, opposed to only 9.5 visits/100 asylum seekers during the sixth week of camp residence. This first data on healthcare utilization in a large, representative asylum seeker cohort entering Western Europe during the current crisis shows that primary care is most needed in the first period directly after arrival. Our dataset may help to raise awareness for refugee and migrant healthcare needs and to adapt care taking strategies accordingly. View Full-Text
Keywords: healthcare; migration; refugee; asylum seeker; medical service; migrant; medical care; doctor; Europe; Germany healthcare; migration; refugee; asylum seeker; medical service; migrant; medical care; doctor; Europe; Germany
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Wetzke, M.; Happle, C.; Vakilzadeh, A.; Ernst, D.; Sogkas, G.; Schmidt, R.E.; Behrens, G.M.N.; Dopfer, C.; Jablonka, A. Healthcare Utilization in a Large Cohort of Asylum Seekers Entering Western Europe in 2015. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2163.

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