OBJECTIVE: To investigate the medical needs and socioeconomic determinants of health among adolescent refugees resettling in Western Australia.
DESIGN: Comprehensive medical and socioeconomic health data of resettling adolescent refugees aged 12 years and above attending a Refugee Health Service over a 1-year period were analysed.
RESULTS: Medical records of 122 adolescents, median (range) age of 14 (12-17) years, were reviewed. Socioeconomic vulnerabilities included dependence on government financial support (50%), housing issues (27%) and child protection service involvement (11%). Medical concerns included non-communicable disorders (85%), infectious diseases (81%), nutrition/growth (71%) and physical symptoms of non-organic origin (43%). One quarter (27%) of female adolescents had sexual/reproductive health issues. A median (range) of 5 (2-12) health concerns were identified for each adolescent with 49% requiring referral to subspecialty services.
CONCLUSION: Resettling adolescent refugees are socioeconomically vulnerable with a range of medical issues that frequently require additional subspecialty health referrals.