MOJ ISSN: 2475-5494 MOJWH

Women's Health
Mini Review
Volume 2 Issue 5 - 2016
Refugee Women and Healthcare: A Community Clinic Experience
Nassrine Noureddine RN1* and Darla K Hagge2
1Department of Nursing, California State University Sacramento, USA
2Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, California State University Sacramento, USA
Received: September 26, 2016 | Published: October 03, 2016
*Corresponding author: Nassrine Noureddine RN, Department of Nursing, California State University Sacramento, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA, 95819, United States of America, Tel: (916) 501- 4958; Fax: (916) 489-5510; Email:
Citation: Noureddine NRN, Hagge DK (2016) Refugee Women and Healthcare: A Community Clinic Experience. MOJ Women’s Health 2(5): 00043. DOI: 10.15406/mojwh.2016.02.00043


In California’s Greater Sacramento area there is a neighborhood clinic that provides free healthcare services to the community by a culturally and linguistically diverse voluntary team of healthcare professionals and students. The authors volunteer in the center and noted that many of the patients served represented resettled refugees. It is, however, the female refugees from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria that present with the greatest healthcare disparity and needs. Ongoing political conflicts and wars have caused soaring levels of forced displacement resulting in more than 65.3 million displaced individuals worldwide (UNHCR, 2015). The United States of America continues to host the highest number of refugees who are resettled within this world region (UNHCR, 2015). Consequently, California’s Greater Sacramento area has seen an increase in the number of refugees arriving from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and other regions. From October 2008 to August 2014, the United States received nearly half a million refugees with 12% resettling in California [1]. California’s Sacramento County has the third largest number of refugees [2], and more than half of these populations are women.

Female refugees are at the highest risk for health problems due to a lack of language, transportation, limited education, social isolation, culture and religious differences, discrimination, healthcare disparity and male gate keeping [3-6]. The refugees are striving to overcome pre-resettlement trauma due to the horror of war, and intense grief over loss of loved ones and homeland. They also face the difficult task of acculturating to a new country. The authors recommend that other local communities engage in the provision of culturally and linguistically competent educational programs, social support, employment opportunities, and healthcare services to local refugee populations.


  1. (2012) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). An office of the administration for children & families.
  2. (2016) California Department of Social Services (CDSS). California Refugee Arrivals Data.
  3. El-Sayed AM, Galea S (2009) The health of Arab-Americans living in the United States: A systematic review of the literature. Bio Med Central Public Health 9: 1-272.
  4. Percac-Lima S, Ashburner JM, Bond B, Oo SA, Atlas SJ (2013) Decreasing disparities in breast cancer screening in refugee women using culturally tailored patient navigation. J Gen Intern Med 28(11): 1463-1468.
  5. Poureslami IM, MacLean DR, Spiegel J, Yassi A (2004) Sociocultural, environmental, and health challenges facing women and children living near the borders between Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (AIP Region). MedGenMed 6(3): 1-51.
  6. Shirazi M, Shirazi A, Bloom J (2015) Developing a culturally competent faith-based framework to promote breast cancer screening among Afghan immigrant women. J Relig Health 54(1): 153-159.
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