Health and well-being of refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and internally displaced persons under COVID-19: a scoping review

Rabie adel El arab, Joel Somerville, Fuad h. Abuadas, Esther Rubinat-Arnaldo, Mette Sagbakken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The objective of this scoping review was to identify what is known about the impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental well-being of refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and internally displaced persons. The aim was also to identify barriers influencing access to treatment or prevention.

Methods: The search was conducted using PubMed/Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, and ScienceDirect. A mixed methods appraisal tool was used to assess methodological rigor. The study findings were synthesized using a thematic analysis approach.

Results and Discussion: This review comprised 24 studies and were conducted utilizing a mixed method approach incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Two major themes were identified related to the impact of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and internally displaced persons and the key barriers influencing access to treatment or prevention of COVID-19. They often have barriers to accessing healthcare due to their legal status, language barriers, and limited resources. The pandemic has further strained already limited health resources, making it even more challenging for these populations to receive healthcare. This review reveals that refugees and asylum seekers in receiving facilities face a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than the general population due to their less favourable living conditions. The various health impacts stem from a lack of access to accurate information about the pandemic, misinformation, and the exacerbation of pre-existing mental health issues caused by heightened stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, fear of deportation among undocumented migrants, and overcrowding camps and detention facilities that increase exposure risk.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2023

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