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Somali refugee health profile
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    Somali refugees have been resettled for many years in communities across the United States. The information in this refugee health profile is intended to help resettlement agencies, clinicians, and public health providers understand the health issues of greatest interest or concern pertaining to Somali refugee populations in the United States, as well as their cultural background and circumstances of their displacement.

    The health conditions listed below are considered priority health conditions in caring for and assisting Somali refugees. This combination of health conditions represents a distinct health burden for the Somali refugee population.

    • Anemia

    • Diabetes mellitus

    • Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)

    • Lead toxicity

    • Schistosomiasis and strongyloidiasis

    • Viral hepatitides (hepatitis B and C)

    Background

    After gaining independence from Italy and Great Britain in 1960, Somalia was a stable nation. However, political instability in the early 1990s resulted in a protracted humanitarian crisis and an ongoing, territorial civil war. Recent elections have been largely peaceful and shown signs of progress, but Somalia remains deeply divided by insurgent groups and rival militias. The civil war, coupled with extreme famine (particularly in rural areas), unequal distribution of aid, and poor economic prospects, has led to the mass exodus and diaspora of Somalis worldwide [1].

    Geography

    The Federal Republic of Somalia (hereafter referred to as Somalia), is located in Eastern Africa and is part of the Horn of Africa, a large peninsula that juts into the Arabian Sea (Figure 1). Somalia borders Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, as well as the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Although Somalia has a largely desert climate, parts of the country experience seasonal monsoons. The country is prone to recurring droughts, frequent dust storms in the eastern plains, and flooding during the rainy season. Famine, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, and desertification have become major issues in recent decades [2].

    /Somali-Refugee-Health-Profile.pdf

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