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Medical conditions and treatment in a transit camp in Serbia for Syrian, Afghani, and Iraqi migrants

  • Levy E
  • Alkan M
  • Shaul S
  • et al.
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Thousands of migrants arrived in Europe via the Balkan route, many with various health conditions. The camp of Preševo, Serbia, close to the Macedonian border, was established by the Serbian government and run by the United Nations High Commissioner. The camp was wstablished for Refugees (UNHCR) late in 2015 as a registration and a transfer camp for refugees traveling through the Balkans on their way from the Near East to Western Europe. Refugees stayed at the camp for several hours or a day. NATAN, an Israeli non-governmental volunteer organization, in collaboration with HUMEDICA, a German organization, established a clinic at the camp, staffed by Israeli and German personnel. The Israeli team consisted of a doctor, nurse, and social worker, at least one of whom spoke Arabic. The language barrier was bridged through the fact that Arabic is commonly spoken in Israel, and more than half of the volunteers were Palestinian-Israelis. As for the Farsi language, we were helped by interpreters from the Department of Languages in the University of Belgrade. This report contains data on 2136 consecutive clients visiting the clinic between December 2015 and February 2016. The report focuses on the three most frequent major countries of origin, Syria (51%), Iraq (18%), and Afghanistan (31%). Analysis of the age distribution revealed that 36% were under 18 years of age, while only 5% were above the age of 60. Male gender was predominant. Infections were the most common diagnosis (61%) followed by pain in various body parts (13%). Antibiotics were prescribed in 47.6% of the infections. Most of the visits were for minor illnesses, with very few cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes (28 visits) or hypertension (17 visits). We provide the demographic correlates of migrants’ health conditions and discuss the findings in light of past studies and the context of the present sample of migrants.




Levy, E., Alkan, M., Shaul, S., & Gidron, Y. (2017). Medical conditions and treatment in a transit camp in Serbia for Syrian, Afghani, and Iraqi migrants. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 2(1).

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