Health and social problems of refugees

Soc Sci Med. 1992 Aug;35(4):507-13. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(92)90343-o.


Today over 15 million refugees are scattered around the world, most of them in poor Third World countries [New Sci., pp. 14-15, September 1991]. But whether they seek 'safe havens' in rich or poor countries they continue to suffer from the malaise of being uprooted, struggling to survive in new and alien environments. Their health and social problems extend beyond the obvious emergency short-term phase. It is now clear that the number of refugees has increased beyond expectations and most have stayed long enough to expect final resettlement in their countries of asylum, a process which requires wider, more comprehensive and long-term management and rehabilitation interventions. This paper will attempt to highlight issues of health and social problems in their wider context, surveying comprehensive and integrated approaches in assessing the needs of refugees, whether they are in developing or industrialised countries, with emphasis on the latter and, when appropriate, using the United Kingdom experience as an example.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Developing Countries
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Refugees* / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Problems*