Malnourished Children in Refugee Camps and Lack of Connection with Services After US Resettlement
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Identifying and addressing malnutrition among US-bound refugee children is an important human rights issue. Failure to address childhood malnutrition can impair cognitive development and productivity. The target population was children aged 6–59 months, originating from eight countries representing 51 % of US-resettled refugees for 2005–2011, living in 22 camps prior to potential US-resettlement. The corresponding camp-level nutritional survey data were evaluated. State Refugee Health Coordinators were surveyed on nutritional assessment, reporting and referrals for their US-refugee medical screenings. From 2004 to 2010, half of the camps (63 total surveys) had global acute malnutrition prevalence over 15 % at least once (surveys not done annually) and anemia prevalence greater than 40 %. The majority of US-refugee medical screenings included height and weight measurements but few used national or WHO standards to evaluate presence or level of malnutrition. Improve overseas camp monitoring and link these nutritional data to US-resettling refugee children to inform potential nutritional interventions. Domestically, use WHO or US growth standards for anthropometrics to determine presence of malnutrition and need for corrective action.
KeywordsRefugees Malnutrition Anemia United States Resettlement
The authors would like to give special thanks to Ankoor Shah for sharing his thesis findings and to Drs. Susan Reines and Alawode Oladele for education in understanding the domestic refugee health screening.
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