Refugees are a vulnerable population who experience significant health disparities. They may also be at disproportionately high risk of adverse outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper presents the results of a community needs assessment to investigate the impact of the pandemic on health and welfare in a refugee relocation community in the United States. A multilingual data collection team made up of refugees surveyed 179 participants (128 refugees vs. 51 non-refugees). Only 55.9% of refugee respondents said they would be able to provide enough food for their family this week, compared with 84.0% of non-refugees (p < 0.01), and this difference was even greater for food next week (29.4% vs. 76.0%, p < 0.01). A non-significantly smaller proportion of refugees reported knowing where to go if they were sick (69.1% vs. 81.6%, χ2 = 2.8, p = 0.10), and being able to get the medicine they need (75.0% vs. 87.8%, p = 0.07), while significantly fewer refugees reported feeling safe at home (72.8 vs. 87.8%, χ2 = 4.5, p = 0.04). Overall, refugees fared worse on nearly every measure. These findings should motivate further observational research and inform clinicians about the significant disparities in social determinants of health that refugees may experience during the pandemic.
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Lyons, Matthew J.; O'Connor, Mary Helen; Feinberg, Iris; Whitaker, Dan; Eriksen, Michael; Owen-Smith, Ashli; Jivani, Saiza; Tamer, Mohammad; Kim, Esther; and Makor, Ganaro
"Comparing the health and welfare of refugees and non-refugees at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic: the results of a community needs assessment.,"
Journal of Refugee & Global Health: Vol. 4
, Article 3.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/rgh/vol4/iss1/3