The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and Refugee Health Network of Australia recommendations for health assessment for people from refugee-like backgrounds: An abridged outline

Nadia J. Chaves, Georgia A. Paxton, Beverley-Ann Biggs, Aesen Thambiran, Joanne Gardiner, Jan Williams, Mitchell M. Smith, Joshua S. Davis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Introduction: In 2009, the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases published guidelines on the post-arrival health assessment of recently arrived refugees. Since then, the number of refugees and asylum seekers reaching Australia has increased substantially (17 555 refugees in 2015e16) and the countries of origin have changed. These groups are likely to have had poor access to health care pre-arrival and, consequently, are at risk of a range of chronic and infectious diseases. We established an advisory group that included infectious diseases physicians, general practitioners, public health specialists, paediatricians and refugee health nurses to update the 2009 guidelines.

    Main recommendations: All people from refugee-like backgrounds, including children, should be offered a tailored comprehensive health assessment and management plan, ideally within 1 month of arrival in Australia. This can be offered at any time if initial contact with a GP or clinic is delayed. Recommended screening depends on history, examination and previous investigations, and is tailored based on age, gender, countries of origin and transit and risk profile. The full version of the guidelines is available at documents/item/1225.

    Changes in management as a result of this guideline: These guidelines apply to all people from refugee-like backgrounds, including asylum seekers. They provide more information about non-communicable diseases and consider Asia and the Middle East as regions of origin as well as Africa. Key changes include an emphasis on person-centred care; risk-based rather than universal screening for hepatitis C virus, malaria, schistosomiasis and sexually transmissible infections; updated immunisation guidelines; and new recommendations for other problems, such as nutritional deficiencies, women’s health and mental health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)310-315
    Number of pages6
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2017


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