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The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and Refugee Health Network of Australia recommendations for health assessment for people from refugee-like backgrounds: an abridged outline

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There are currently more than 65 million people who have been forcibly displaced worldwide, including 21.3 million people with formal refugee status, over half of whom are aged under 18 years.1 More than 15 000 refugees have resettled in Australia in the 2015–16 financial year, which includes a proportion of the 12 000 refugees from Syria and Iraq recently added to Australia’s humanitarian intake.2 In addition, around 30 000 asylum seekers who arrived by plane or boat are currently in Australia awaiting visa outcomes.3

People from refugee-like backgrounds are likely to have experienced disruption of basic services, poverty, food insecurity, poor living conditions and prolonged uncertainty; they may have experienced significant human rights violations, trauma or torture. These circumstances place them at increased risk of complex physical and mental health conditions. They face numerous barriers to accessing health care after arrival in Australia, such as language, financial stress, competing priorities in the settlement period, and difficulties understanding and navigating the health care system.46 Most people require the assistance of an interpreter for clinical consultations.7 Offering a full health assessment to…