Associations between poor living conditions and multi-morbidity among Syrian migrant agricultural workers in Lebanon

Eur J Public Health. 2016 Dec;26(6):1039-1044. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw096. Epub 2016 Jul 8.


Background: Syrian migrant farmworkers are among the most marginalized populations in Lebanon, living in poverty, lacking basic legal protections and frequent targets of discrimination. These realities produce living conditions that undermine their basic health and wellbeing. This study explores associations between household living conditions and acute and chronic health problems among Syrian migrant agricultural workers in the Bekaa region of Lebanon.

Methods: A survey was carried out in summer of 2011 with a sample of 290 migrant agriculture workers and members of their household living in a migrant farmworker camp. The survey assessed participants living conditions, assets and health conditions. Regression analyses were carried out to examine associations between multi-morbidity and quality of household and neighborhood living conditions.

Results: The mean age for the population was 20 years. Forty-seven percent of participants reported health problems. Almost 20% reported either one acute or chronic illness, 15% reported two health problems and 13% reported three or more. The analysis showed a significant positive association between multi-morbidity and poor housing and infrastructure conditions among study participants.

Conclusion: The situation for migrant communities in Lebanon has likely further deteriorated since the study was conducted, as hundreds of thousands of new migrants have entered Lebanon since the outbreak of the Syrian armed conflict in 2011. These findings should inspire multi-faceted community development initiatives that provide basic minimums of neighborhood infrastructure and housing quality for Syrian migrant informal settlements across Lebanon, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of community residents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Agriculture*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Syria / ethnology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult