Health experts are applauding a new treatment guide aimed to help Canadian physicians better diagnose and treat new immigrant patients.
The 100-page document, Evidence-Based Clinical Guidelines for Immigrants and Refugees, was compiled and released this month by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It provides guidelines to physicians on which illnesses they should be screening for, depending on where a person is arriving from, as well as information on ways that the doctor and patient can work together to prevent future ailments.
“Immigrants are coming [here] from 150 countries,” said guide co-author Dr. Kevin Pottie from the University of Ottawa. “Some of them come as refugees, some under family class. So, there’s a large diversity of needs and potential preventable and treatable illnesses [that] the average family doctor just isn’t thinking about.”
The guide informs doctors as to which vaccinations they should be giving their patients, as well as what diseases they should be screening for – diseases that are not as common in their Canadian patients such as Hepatitis B, diabetes and Anemia.
“There are physicians in rural Canada who may be just starting to see some of these diseases, and I think these guidelines will be immensely helpful to those people,” said Dr. Meb Rashid, a downtown Toronto physician who has been working with immigrants and refugees for eight years. “It’s well-organized and easy to reference.”
The report singles out refugees for their higher risk of depression and anxiety disorders. It also warns doctors of cultural sensitivities to which they may be unaware, such as possible stigmas surrounding contraceptives or women-specific health issues.
Dr. Pottie and his team are hoping to build a similar migrant health guide to be used by physicians at an international level.
Source: CBC News