Family Medicine With Refugee Newcomers During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Certain members of society are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis and the added strain being placed on already overextended health care systems. In this article, we focus on refugee newcomers. We outline vulnerabilities refugee newcomers face in the context of COVID-19, including barriers to accessing health care services, disproportionate rates of mental health concerns, financial constraints, racism, and higher likelihoods of living in relatively higher density and multigenerational dwellings. In addition, we describe the response to COVID-19 by a community-based refugee primary health center in Ontario, Canada. This includes how the clinic has initially responded to the crisis as well as recommendations for providing services to refugee newcomers as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. Recommendations include the following actions: (1) consider social determinants of health in the new context of COVID-19; (2) provide services through a trauma-informed lens; (3) increase focus on continuity of health and mental health care; (4) mobilize International Medical Graduates for triaging patients based on COVID-19 symptoms; and (5) diversify communication efforts to educate refugees about COVID-19.
Authors: Jackson Andrew Smith, Jean de Dieu Basabose, Margaret Brockett, Dillon Thomas Browne, Sandy Shamon, Michael Stephenson