idil rana user, bülent hayri özokutan
gaziantep university, gaziantep, Turkey


AIM OF THE STUDY: To evaluate the sociodemographic and medical features of refugee patients in pediatric age group and identifying common health-related issues.

METHODS: Refugee children admitted to pediatric surgery department of a teaching hospital during the years 2012-2017 were included in the study. Patients’ files were reviewed retrospectively for age, gender, diagnosis, comorbid conditions, place of birth, current place of residency and medicosocial problems.

MAIN RESULTS: Total of 254 patients with the median age of 3 years (min:0-max:16 years) were treated in this time period. Male to female ratio was 1,7 (162/92). Most common primary diagnosis at attendance were inguino-scrotal pathologies (n=50, 19.7%) followed by foreign body ingestion (n=37, 14.6%) and corrosive esophagitis (n=22, 8.7%). The cause of admission was a potentially preventable trauma in 24.4% of cases. Comorbid medical conditions like cardiac or respiratory insufficiency were present in 49 patient (19.3%). Anemia was detected in 23.2% of cases. Weight according to age and gender were <3percentile in 29.1% of patients. Place of birth was native country in 77.2% of children. Current residency was refugee camp in 47.4%, urban city in country of immigration in 39.3% and home country in 13.3%. Difficulties in communication due to linguistic difference, lack of former medical history in native country and advanced presentation of disease due to late admission were the challenges faced by caregivers.

CONCLUSION: The primary diagnosis for admission of refugee children were different from the routine pediatric surgery practice and a significant part were of preventable causes. They more commonly have comorbid conditions that potentially have a negative influence on pre- and postoperative period. These facts can be as a result of their unfavorable living standards and lack of medical care during migration. Medical staff should pay attention for these comorbidities in care of refugee children.