Asylum Seekers

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In Australia the current policy on asylum seekers and refugees, outlined in the Migration Act 1958 requires “people who are not Australian citizens and do not hold a valid visa to be detained” (Australian Government 2013, p.1). Newman, et al. (2010) illustrates that most asylum seekers in immigration detention centres endure horrific conditions of overcrowding, abuse of human rights and a lack of access to healthcare. The articles above support Newman’s et al. (2010) findings and further highlight the harmful physical and psychological effects of mandatory detention on children and their families. The mistreatment of asylum seekers, both young and old, as well as the serious lack of high quality, accessible medical services is a significant…show more content…
2004). These conditions place a great burden on our health care system, and on our health professionals (Nadeau & Measham 2006). Nadeau and Measham’s (2006) article highlights some of the challenges paediatricians face when providing appropriate health care to migrant children. One of the challenges they discuss is that most migrant families find it difficult to navigate our foreign healthcare system and are often reluctant to do so due to a deep seeded mistrust of services, hence “paediatricians and psychiatrists need to use particular strategies to invite families to invest in needed treatments” (Nadeau & Measham 2006, p. 146). They also discuss the challenges of creating a welcoming environment which instils a sense of trust within the client (Nadeau & Measham 2006). Often migrants from different cultural backgrounds fear that bringing their child in for treatment may trigger social discrimination or hold the belief that some mental health services are linked to immigration services, and thus refuse to cooperate (Nadeau & Measham 2006). In the article written by Karen Zwi, she illustrates that if children are supported and protected from further stress they are more likely to recover both mentally and physically. However, in order for children to reach a state of wellbeing, it is imperative that health professionals, including…show more content…
Many of the studies were in agreement with the current media perspective of refugees, their health outcomes and the inhumane nature of detention centres. Conditions that refugees and asylum seekers experience whilst in detention camps increases their risk of mental health conditions, and has a particularly adverse effect on children’s brain development and future life chances. The two articles selected illustrate that mandatory detention is damaging people’s health and impedes on basic human rights. In Kirsty Nancarrow article, she argues that abolishing detention centres will improve welfare for refugees and asylum seekers. Steel et al. (2011) suggest another strategy to manage migrant health through the use of medical screening. They suggested prohibiting migrants/refugees with communicable diseases such as Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and HIV from entering the country, or to prevent those with existing illnesses from migrating, in an attempt to lessen the imminent burden on health services within the host country (Steel et al. 2011). While this is not a concrete solution, it can help to alleviate strain placed on our healthcare system. The hope for a brighter future for refugees and asylum seekers sits in the hands of our government. A vast amount of literature exists that highlights the serious health implications for this vulnerable population; and hopefully that will be enough to
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