Nearly half of all refugees are children, and almost one in three children living outside their country of birth is a refugee. These numbers encompass children whose refugee status has formally confirmed, as well as children in refugee-like situations.
In addition to facing the direct threat of violence resulting from conflict; forcibly displaced children also face various health risks, including disease outbreaks and long-term psychological trauma; inadequate access to water and sanitation; nutritious food; and regular vaccination schedules. Refugee children, particularly those without documentation and those who travel alone; are also vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
Children and their families
Although many communities around the world have welcomed them; forcibly displaced children and their families often face discrimination, poverty, and social marginalization in their home, transit, and destination countries. Language barriers and legal barriers in transit and destination countries often bar refugee children and their families from accessing education, healthcare, social protection, and other services.
Many countries of destination also lack intercultural supports and policies for social integration. Such threats to safety and well-being are amplified for refugee children with disabilities. Elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs; ≥5 µg/dL) are more prevalent among refugee children resettled in the United States than the general US population and contribute to permanent health and neurodevelopmental problems.
Elevated blood pressure means your blood pressure is slightly above normal. It will likely turn into high blood pressure (hypertension) unless you make lifestyle changes; such as getting more exercise and eating healthier foods. Both elevated blood pressure and high blood pressure increase your risk of a heart attack; stroke and heart failure. Weight loss; exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes can often control elevated blood pressure; set the stage for a lifetime of better health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening of refugee children aged 6 months to 16 years on arrival in the United States and retesting those aged 6 months to 6 years between 3- and 6-months post-arrival.
Domestic refugee medical examination
They analyzed EBLL prevalence among refugee children aged 6 months to 16 years who received a domestic refugee medical examination. Assessed EBLL prevalence by predeparture examination country and, among children rescreened 3 to 6 months after initial testing; assessed EBLL changes during follow-up screening.
Twelve sites provided data on 27 284 children representing nearly 25% of refugee children resettling during the time period of this analysis. The EBLL prevalence during initial testing was 19.3%. EBLL was associated with younger age; male sex, and overseas examination country. Among 1121 children from 5 sites with available follow-up test results; EBLL prevalence was 22.7%; higher follow-up BLLs with younger age and predeparture examination country.
EBLL decreased over the time period of our analysis in this population of refugee children. Refugee children may exposed to lead before and after resettlement to the United States. Efforts to identify incoming refugee populations at high risk for EBLL can inform prevention efforts both domestically and overseas.