Title

Injuries among Afghan refugees: Review of evidence

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Journal

Prehospital and Disaster Medicine

Volume

19

Issue

2

DOI

10.1017/S1049023X00001692

Keywords

Afghans; injuries; public health; refugee camps; refugees; risk factors; vulnerability

Abstract

Background: Injuries are a public health problem in developing countries resulting in major financial and productivity losses. Injuries in vulnerable populations, such as refugees, make an even greater impact on loss of life. Afghan refugees in Pakistan continue to form one of the world's largest refugee populations. This study systemically reviews the literature to estimate the magnitude and prevalence of intentional and unintentional injuries in Afghan refugees, and explores the implications of the findings for refugee healthcare policy and development of potential interventions specifically for Afghan refugees. Methods: Electronic databases of MEDLINE, POPLINE, Refworld, and Winspirs were searched. In addition, a web search was conducted and specific organizational websites were reviewed. The search in developing countries was limited to studies in English or with an English abstract for the years 1966-2001. Results: The literature review identified patients with reported war injuries who presented to hospitals. Injuries to extremities (45%) were more frequent than injuries to the head or neck (36%, p <0.001), and thorax/abdomen (14%, p <0.001) regions. A majority of the injuries were caused by explosives, which included landmines (32.5%), fragmentations, such as shrapnel (33%), and firearms (27%). The mean incidence of mortality in these studies was 11%. Conclusions: Despite such an extensive search, limited information was found pertinent to injuries in Afghan refugees residing in refugee camps. This dearth of literature on the prevalence of injuries, risk factors, and outcomes among this vulnerable group is a research and policy gap for public health. Specific quantitive and qualitative studies in this field are required to shape refugee healthcare policies and develop intervention programs. Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2004.

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