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Health status of returning refugees, internally displaced persons, and the host community in a post-conflict district in northern Sri Lanka: a cross-sectional survey

Burns, R; Wickramage, K; Musah, A; Siriwardhana, C; Checchi, F; (2018) Health status of returning refugees, internally displaced persons, and the host community in a post-conflict district in northern Sri Lanka: a cross-sectional survey. Conflict and Health , 12 , Article 41. 10.1186/s13031-018-0176-7. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Although the adverse impacts of conflict-driven displacement on health are well-documented, less is known about how health status and associated risk factors differ according to displacement experience. This study quantifies health status and quality of life among returning refugees, internally displaced persons, and the host community in a post-conflict district in Northern Sri Lanka, and explores associated risk factors. Methods: We analysed data collected through a household survey (n = 570) in Vavuniya district, Sri Lanka. The effect of displacement status and other risk factors on perceived quality of life as estimated from the 36-item Short Form Questionnaire, mental health status from 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire, and self-reported chronic disease status were examined using univariable analyses and multivariable regressions. Results: We found strong evidence that perceived quality of life was significantly lower for internally displaced persons than for the host community and returning refugees, after adjusting for covariates. Both mental health status and chronic disease status did not vary remarkably among the groups, suggesting that other risk factors might be more important determinants of these outcomes. Conclusions: Our study provides important insights into the overall health and well-being of the different displaced sub-populations in a post-conflict setting. Findings reinforce existing evidence on the relationship between displacement and health but also highlight gaps in research on the long-term health effects of prolonged displacement. Understanding the heterogeneity of conflict-affected populations has important implications for effective and equitable humanitarian service delivery in a post-conflict setting.

Type: Article
Title: Health status of returning refugees, internally displaced persons, and the host community in a post-conflict district in northern Sri Lanka: a cross-sectional survey
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13031-018-0176-7
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-018-0176-7
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Sri Lanka, Post-conflict, Mental health, Quality of life, Chronic disease, Noncommunicable diseases, Forced displacement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060384
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