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  • Offering care for victims of torture among a migrant population in a transit country: a descriptive study in a dedicated clinic from January 2017 to June 2019.

    Keshk, M; Harrison, R; Kizito, W; Psarra, C; Owiti, P; Timire, C; Camacho, MM; De Maio, G; Safwat, H; Matboly, A; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2020-10-06)
    Background: Medecins Sans Frontieres set up a clinic to provide multidisciplinary care to a vulnerable migrant population experiencing torture. We describe the population accessing care, the characteristics of care provided and patient outcomes. Methods: A descriptive retrospective cohort study of patients enrolled in care during January 2017-June 2019 was conducted. Results: Of 2512 victims of torture cases accessing the clinic, the male: female ratio was 1:1. About 67% of patients received medical care, mostly for chronic pain treatment. About 73% of patients received mental healthcare, 37% received physiotherapy and 33% received social support care; 49% came to the clinic upon the recommendation of a friend or family member. The discharge with improvement rate ranged from 23% in the mental health service to 9% in the sociolegal service. Patients retained in care had a median IQR of 3 (2-4) follow-up visits for medical care, 4 (2-7) for mental health, 6 (3-10) for physiotherapy and 2 (1-4) for sociolegal. Conclusion: Care for victims of torture cases among vulnerable migrants is complex. For those who did receive care that led to an improvement in their condition, their care models have been described, to allow its implementation in other non-specialised settings.
  • People-centred surveillance: a narrative review of community-based surveillance among crisis-affected populations.

    Ratnayake, R; Tammaro, M; Tiffany, A; Kongelf, A; Polonsky, JA; McClelland, A (Elsevier, 2020-10-01)
    Outbreaks of disease in settings affected by crises grow rapidly due to late detection and weakened public health systems. Where surveillance is underfunctioning, community-based surveillance can contribute to rapid outbreak detection and response, a core capacity of the International Health Regulations. We reviewed articles describing the potential for community-based surveillance to detect diseases of epidemic potential, outbreaks, and mortality among populations affected by crises. Surveillance objectives have included the early warning of outbreaks, active case finding during outbreaks, case finding for eradication programmes, and mortality surveillance. Community-based surveillance can provide sensitive and timely detection, identify valid signals for diseases with salient symptoms, and provide continuity in remote areas during cycles of insecurity. Effectiveness appears to be mediated by operational requirements for continuous supervision of large community networks, verification of a large number of signals, and integration of community-based surveillance within the routine investigation and response infrastructure. Similar to all community health systems, community-based surveillance requires simple design, reliable supervision, and early and routine monitoring and evaluation to ensure data validity. Research priorities include the evaluation of syndromic case definitions, electronic data collection for community members, sentinel site designs, and statistical techniques to counterbalance false positive signals.
  • “You said the hospital can't be bombed”

    Garcia-Mingo, A; Abbara, A; Roy, RB (Elsevier, 2020-10-01)
  • Sexual violence against migrants and asylum seekers. The experience of the MSF clinic on Lesvos Island, Greece.

    Belanteri, RA; Hinderaker, SG; Wilkinson, E; Episkopou, M; Timire, C; de Plecker, E; Mabhala, M; Takarinda, KC; Van den Bergh, R (Public Library of Sciences, 2020-09-17)
    Objectives: Sexual violence can have a destructive impact on the lives of people. It is more common in unstable conditions such as during displacement or migration of people. On the Greek island of Lesvos, Médecins Sans Frontières provided medical care to survivors of sexual violence among the population of asylum seekers. This study describes the patterns of sexual violence reported by migrants and asylum seekers and the clinical care provided to them. Methods: This is a descriptive study, using routine program data. The study population consisted of migrants and asylum seekers treated for conditions related to sexual violence at the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic on Lesvos Island (September 2017-January 2018). Results: There were 215 survivors of sexual violence who presented for care, of whom 60 (28%) were male. The majority of incidents reported (94%) were cases of rape; 174 (81%) of survivors were from Africa and 185 (86%) of the incidents occurred over a month before presentation. Half the incidents (118) occurred in transit, mainly in Turkey, and 76 (35%) in the country of origin; 10 cases (5%) occurred on Lesvos. The perpetrator was known to the survivor in 23% of the cases. The need for mental health care exceeded the capacity of available mental care services. Conclusion: Even though the majority of cases delayed seeking medical care after the incident, it is crucial that access to mental health services is guaranteed for those in need. Such access and security measures for people in transit need to be put in place along migration routes, including in countries nominally considered safe, and secure routes need to be developed.
  • Pervasive refusal syndrome in child asylum seekers on Nauru.

    Newman, L; O'Connor, B; Reynolds, V; Newhouse, G (SAGE Publications, 2020-09-10)
    Objectives: Between 2013 and 2019, an estimated 200 children seeking asylum in Australia were detained on the island of Nauru. In 2018, 15 of these children developed the rare and life-threatening pervasive refusal syndrome (PRS). This paper describes the PRS case cluster, the complexities faced by clinicians managing these cases, and the lessons that can be learned from this outbreak. Conclusions: The emergence of PRS on Nauru highlighted the risks of long-term detention of children in settings that are unable to meet their physical and psycho-social needs. The case cluster also underscored (a) the difficulties faced by doctors working in conditions where their medical and legal obligations may be in direct conflict, and (b) the role of clinicians in patient advocacy.
  • "To die is better for me", social suffering among Syrian refugees at a noncommunicable disease clinic in Jordan: a qualitative study

    Maconick, L; Ansbro, E; Ellithy, S; Jobanputra, K; Tarawneh, M; Roberts, B (BMC, 2020-09-01)
    Background: The conflict in Syria has required humanitarian agencies to implement primary-level services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jordan, given the high NCD burden amongst Syrian refugees; and to integrate mental health and psychosocial support into NCD services given their comorbidity and treatment interactions. However, no studies have explored the mental health needs of Syrian NCD patients. This paper aims to examine the interaction between physical and mental health of patients with NCDs at a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in Irbid, Jordan, in the context of social suffering. Methods: This qualitative study involved sixteen semi-structured interviews with Syrian refugee and Jordanian patients and two focus groups with Syrian refugees attending MSF's NCD services in Irbid, and eighteen semi-structured interviews with MSF clinical, managerial and administrative staff. These were conducted by research staff in August 2017 in Irbid, Amman and via Skype. Thematic analysis was used. Results: Respondents describe immense suffering and clearly perceived the interconnectedness of their physical wellbeing, mental health and social circumstances, in keeping with Kleinman's theory of social suffering. There was a 'disconnect' between staff and patients' perceptions of the potential role of the NCD and mental health service in alleviating this suffering. Possible explanations identified included respondent's low expectations of the ability of the service to impact on the root causes of their suffering, normalisation of distress, the prevailing biomedical view of mental ill-health among national clinicians and patients, and humanitarian actors' own cultural standpoints. Conclusion: Syrian and Jordanian NCD patients recognise the psychological dimensions of their illness but may not utilize clinic-based humanitarian mental health and psychosocial support services. Humanitarian agencies must engage with NCD patients to elicit their needs and design culturally relevant services.
  • Europe's migrant containment policies threaten the response to COVID-19

    Hargreaves, S; Kumar, BN; McKee, M; Jones, L; Veizis, A (The BMJ, 2020-03-26)
  • Caring for Rohingya Refugees With Diphtheria and Measles: On the Ethics of Humanity

    Asgary, R (Annals of Family Medicine, 2020-03-01)
    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees arrived in Bangladesh within weeks in fall 2017, quickly forming large settlements without any basic support. Humanitarian first responders provided basic necessities including food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health care. However, the challenge before them—a vast camp ravaged by diphtheria and measles superimposed on a myriad of common pathologies—was disproportionate to the resources. The needs were endless, resources finite, inadequacies abundant, and premature death inevitable. While such confines force unimaginable choices in resource allocation, they do not define the humanitarian purpose—to alleviate suffering and not allow such moral violations to become devoid of their horrifying meaning. As humanitarian workers, we maintain humanity when we care, commit, and respond to moral injustices. This refusal to abandon others in desperate situations is an attempt to rectify injustices through witnessing and solidarity. When people are left behind, we must not leave them alone.
  • EU migration policies drive health crisis on Greek islands.

    Orcutt, M; Mussa, R; Hiam, L; Veizis, A; McCann, S; Papadimitriou, E; Ponthieu, A; Knipper, M (Elsevier, 2020-01-13)
    Restrictive migration policies that deny migrants and asylum seekers their right to health—a fundamental right enshrined in universal human rights declarations and treaties since 1948—are increasingly prevalent globally. They are the result of the so-called migration crisis that is a politically made humanitarian crisis. States are criminalising people who are in some of the most vulnerable situations, often also denying their right to seek asylum and right to health. Such policies are particularly apparent in situations of indefinite containment, such as on the Greek Islands (Chios, Kos, Leros, Lesvos, and Samos), where people are contained in EU-supported hotspot facilities in overcrowded, unhealthy, and undignified conditions.
  • “To die is better for me”, social suffering among Syrian refugees at a noncommunicable disease clinic in Jordan: A Qualitative Study

    Ansbro, E; Maconick, L; Ellithy, S; Jobanputra, K; Tarawneh, M; Roberts, B; MSF UK; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Research Square, 2019-12-18)
    Background The conflict in Syria has required humanitarian agencies to implement primary-level services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jordan, given the high NCD burden amongst Syrian refugees; and to integrate mental health and psychosocial support into NCD services given their comorbidity and treatment interactions. However, no studies have explored the mental health needs of Syrian NCD patients. This paper aims to examine the interaction between physical and mental health of patients with NCDs at a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in Irbid, Jordan, in the context of social suffering. Methods This qualitative study involved sixteen semi-structured interviews with Syrian refugee and Jordanian patients and two focus groups with Syrian refugees attending MSF’s NCD services in Irbid, and eighteen semi-structured interviews with MSF clinical, managerial and administrative staff. These were conducted by research staff in August 2017 in Irbid, Amman and via Skype. Thematic analysis was used. Results Respondents describe immense suffering and clearly perceived the interconnectedness of their physical wellbeing, mental health and social circumstances, in keeping with Kleinman’s theory of social suffering. There was a ‘disconnect’ between staff and patients’ perceptions of the potential role of the NCD and mental health service in alleviating this suffering. Possible explanations identified included respondent’s low expectations of the ability of the service to impact on the root causes of their suffering, normalisation of distress, the prevailing biomedical view of mental ill-health among national clinicians and patients, and humanitarian actors’ own cultural standpoints. Conclusion NCD patients recognised the psychological dimensions of their illness but may not utilize clinic-based humanitarian mental health and psychosocial support services. Humanitarian agencies must engage with NCD patients to elicit their needs and design culturally relevant services.
  • Mortality and health survey, Walikale, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017: an example of the use of survey data for humanitarian program planning

    Robinson, E; Crispino, V; Ouabo, A; Soung Iballa, F; Kremer, R; Serbassi, M; van Lenthe, M; Carrion Martin, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-11-21)
    Background: During humanitarian crises, health information systems are often lacking and surveys are a valuable tool to assess the health needs of affected populations. In 2013, a mortality and health survey undertaken by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the conflict affected Walikale territory of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), indicated mortality rates exceeding humanitarian crisis thresholds and a high burden of mortality and morbidity due to malaria. In late 2017, after a period of relative stability, MSF reassessed the health status of the population through a second survey to guide ongoing operations. Methods: A two-stage cluster survey, selecting villages using probability proportional to size and households using random walk procedures, was conducted. Household members were interviewed on morbidity and mortality, healthcare use, vaccination status, and bednet availability. Results: The sample included 5711 persons in 794 households. The crude mortality rate (CMR) and under-five mortality rate (U5MR) were 0.98 per 10,000 persons/day (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78–1.2) and 1.3 per 10,000 persons/day (95% CI): 0.82–2.0), respectively. The most frequently reported causes of death were fever/malaria (31%), diarrhoea (15%) and respiratory infections (8%). In 89% of households at least one person was reported as falling ill in the previous 2 weeks, and 58% sought healthcare. Cost was the main barrier amongst 58% of those who did not seek healthcare. Coverage of measles-containing-vaccine was 62% in under-fives. Sufficient bednet coverage (1 bednet/2 people) was reported from 17% of households. Conclusion: The second survey illustrates that although mortality is now just below crisis thresholds, the area still experiences excess mortality and has substantial health needs. The study results have supported the further expansion of integrated community case management to improve access to care for malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Such surveys are important to orient operations to the health needs of the population being served and also highlight the ongoing vulnerability of populations after humanitarian crises.
  • "With every passing day I feel like a candle, melting little by little." experiences of long-term displacement amongst Syrian refugees in Shatila, Lebanon.

    Syam, H; Venables, E; Sousse, B; Severy, N; Saavedra, L; Kazour, F (BioMed Central, 2019-10-10)
    BACKGROUND: Long term displacement and exposure to challenging living conditions can influence family dynamics; gender roles; violence at home and in the community and mental well-being. This qualitative study explores these issues as perceived by Syrian refugees who have been living in Shatila, a Palestinian camp in South Beirut, Lebanon, for at least 2 years. METHODS: Twenty eight in-depth interviews with men and women were conducted between February and June 2018. Women were recipients of mental health services, and men were recruited from the local community. Interviews were conducted in Arabic, translated, transcribed, coded and analysed using thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Our results show patterns of harsh living conditions similar to those described earlier in the course of the Syrian refugee crisis. Lack of infrastructure, overcrowding, cramped rooms and violence were all reported. Participants also described a lack of social support, discrimination and harassment within the host community, as well as limited social support networks within their own Syrian refugee community. Family dynamics were affected by the increased responsibilities on men, women and children; with additional economic and employment demands on men, women assuming the roles of 'mother and father' and children having to work and contribute to the household. Participants discussed several types of violence, including parental violence against children and violence in the community. Violence against women was also reported. Reported mental health issues included depression, anxiety, sadness, frustration, hopelessness, self-neglect and a loss of sense of self and self-worth. Some participants expressed a wish to die. CONCLUSIONS: This study describes experiences of changing gender roles, family dynamics, violence and mental health after long-term displacement in in Shatila camp, South Beirut as perceived by Syrian refugees. A lack of safety and security coupled with economic hardship rendered refugees even more susceptible to exploitation and harassment. Parental violence was the most commonly reported type of domestic violence.
  • Integrating palliative care and symptom relief into responses to humanitarian crises.

    Krakauer, EL; Daubman, BR; Aloudat, T (Australasian Medical Publishing Company Ltd, 2019-08-01)
  • In island containment: a qualitative exploration of social support systems among asylum seekers in a mental health care programme on Lesvos Island, Greece.

    Episkopou, M; Venables, E; Whitehouse, K; Eleftherakos, C; Zamatto, F; de Bartolome Gisbert, F; Severy, N; Barry, D; Van den Bergh, R (BioMed Central, 2019-07-22)
    BACKGROUND: Social support is a core determinant of health and plays a key role in the healing process of people with mental health problems and those who have been exposed to torture or other traumatic events. At the same time, social support is particularly challenging to build in such populations, as self-isolation and social withdrawal are common consequences of traumatic incidents. Defining social support is also challenging as there is no globally adequate definition. Our aim was to explore how social support was understood by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) beneficiaries, and how they perceived their needs on Lesvos Island, Greece to be met. METHODS: This was a qualitative study, based on exploratory free-listing interviews that explored how MSF beneficiaries on Lesvos understood and defined social support, followed by a series of in-depth interviews through which participants explained how they perceived their needs to be met. The study was conducted over a period of two weeks in August 2018, with 32 migrants and asylum seekers (22 male, 10 female) enrolled in the mental health services of MSF on Lesvos Island. The majority of interviewees were single men of African origin who had resided in Moria camp between 2 months and 2.5 years. Countries of origin include Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Senegal and other West African countries. RESULTS: Participants defined social support as the practical, informational and emotional support that people receive from organisations, friends and family members. Results revealed a lack of community links, isolation, tensions and conflict, insufficient amenities and limited orientation to services that lead to and amplify isolation, discrimination and tension. Most of the participants received little or no support both formally from organisations and informally from other migrants and asylum seekers in the camp. CONCLUSIONS: Functional support networks are urgently required to overcome the consequences of restrictive policies which force people into containment and remove their support systems. Actors who are involved in providing social support, including MSF, are strongly encouraged to engage in activities that work towards building and strengthening peer support networks and creating a sense of community.
  • High levels of mortality, exposure to violence and psychological distress experienced by the internally displaced population of Ein Issa camp prior to and during their displacement in Northeast Syria, November 2017.

    Vernier, L; Cramond, V; Hoetjes, M; Lenglet, A; Hoare, T; Malaeb, R; Carrion Martin, AI (BioMed Central, 2019-07-11)
    BACKGROUND: War in Syria has lasted for more than eight years, causing population displacement, collapse of medical and public health services, extensive violence and countless deaths. Since November 2016, military operations in Northeast Syria intensified. In October 2017 a large influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) arrived to Ein Issa camp, Raqqa governate. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) assessed the health status of recently arrived IDPs in Ein Issa camp. METHODS: MSF carried out a cross-sectional survey using simple random sampling between 8 and 18 November 2017, enrolling households who had arrived to Ein Issa camp since 1 October 2017. A questionnaire collected data on demographics, history of displacement, retrospective one-year mortality, two-week morbidities, non-communicable diseases, exposure to violence in the last year and two-week psychological distress symptoms among all household members as well as vaccination status in children aged 6 to 59 months. The latter were also screened for malnutrition. Prevalence estimates and mortality rates were calculated with their 95% confidence interval. Mortality rates were calculated as the number of deaths/10,000 persons/day using the individual person-day contribution of all household members. RESULTS: MSF surveyed 257 households (1482 participants). They reported 31 deaths in the previous year, resulting in a crude mortality rate of 0.56 deaths/10,000 persons/day (95%CI: 0.39-0.80). Conflict-related violence was the most frequently reported cause of death (64.5%). In the previous year, 31.7% (95%CI: 29.4-34.2) of the participants experienced at least one violent episode. The most frequent type of violence reported was witnessing atrocities (floggings, executions or public body displays); 18.9% (95%CI: 17.0-21.0) of the population and 9.8% (95%CI: 7.9-12.0) of the children under 15 years had witnessed such atrocities. In men over 14 years, 15.8% (95%CI: 11.9-20.8) were detained/kidnapped and 11.3% (95%CI: 8.0-15.8) tortured/beaten/attacked. In the two weeks prior to interview, 14.4% (95%CI: 10.6-19.3) of the respondents felt so hopeless that they did not want to carry on living most of the time. CONCLUSIONS: High levels of mortality, exposure to violence and psychological distress were reported. These survey results increase understanding of the impact of the conflict on the IDP population in Northeast Syria.
  • Refugee camp health services utilisation by non-camp residents as an indicator of unaddressed health needs of surrounding populations: a perspective from Mae La refugee camp in Thailand during 2006 and 2007.

    Alexakis, LC; Athanasiou, M; Konstantinou, A (African Field Epidemiology Network, 2019-04-17)
    INTRODUCTION: This study explored the differences on the level of medical care required by camp and non-camp resident patients during utilisation of the health services in Mae La refugee camp, Tak province, Thailand during the years 2006 and 2007. METHODS: Data were extracted from camp registers and the Health Information System used during the years 2006 and 2007 and statistical analysis was performed. RESULTS: The analysis showed that during 2006 and 2007 non-camp resident patients, coming from Thailand as well as Myanmar, who sought care in the outpatient department (OPD) of the camp required at a significantly higher proportion admission to the inpatient department (IPD) or referral to the district hospital compared to camp resident patients. Although there was a statistically significant increased mortality of the non-camp resident patients admitted in the IPD compared to camp resident patients, there was no significant difference in mortality among these two groups when the referrals to the district hospital were analysed. CONCLUSION: Non-camp resident patients tended to need a more advanced level of medical care compared to camp resident patients. Provided that this it is further validated, the above observed pattern might be potentially useful as an indirect indicator of unaddressed health needs of populations surrounding a refugee camp.
  • Collaboration between Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxford Medical Case Reports

    Balinska, MA; Watts, RA (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-15)
  • The aftermath of Cyclone Idai—building bridges where we can

    Frieden, M (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-04-03)
    Marthe Frieden is the medical team leader in MSF’s emergency response to the destruction caused by tropical Cyclone Idai. On the night of 15 March, the cyclone hit Zimbabwe’s mountainous Manicaland province, causing flooding and deadly landslides, particularly in the Chimanimani District. Before Idai hit, Marthe was working on an MSF pilot project for managing diabetes and hypertension in the nearby Chipinge District, in partnership with Zimbabwe’s health ministry. Writing from the worst hit districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge, Marthe describes the events of the first six days as an MSF team of 10 people rapidly switched from their regular activities to emergency mode.
  • Screening of asymptomatic rheumatic heart disease among refugee/migrant children and youths in Italy.

    Condemi, F; Rossi, G; Miguel, L; Pagano, A; Zamatto, F; Marini, S; Romeo, F; De Maio, G (BioMed Central, 2019-04-02)
    Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a chronic condition responsible of congestive heart failure, stroke and arrhythmia. Almost eradicated in high-income countries (HIC), it persists in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of the study was to assess the feasibility and meaningfulness of ultrasound-based RHD screening among the population of unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy and determine the burden of asymptomatic RHD among this discrete population. From February 2016 to January 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a weekly mobile screening by echocardiography in reception centers and family houses for unaccompanied foreign minors in Rome, followed by fix echocardiographic retesting for those resulting positive at screening. 'Definite' and 'borderline' cases were defined according to the World Hearth Federation criteria. Six hundred fifty-three individuals (13-26 years old) were screened; 95.6% were below 18 years old (624/653). Six 'definite RHD' were identified at screening, yielding a detection rate of 9.2‰ (95% CI 4.1-20.3‰), while 285 (436.4‰) were defined as 'borderline' (95% CI 398.8-474.9‰). Out of 172 "non-negative borderline" cases available for being retested (113 "non-negative borderline" lost in follow-up), additional 11 were categorized as 'definite RHD', for a total of 17 'definite RHD', yielding a final prevalence of 26.0‰ (95% CI 16.2-41.5‰) (17/653), and 122 (122/653) were confirmed as 'borderline' (final prevalence of 186.8‰, 95% CI 158.7-218.7). In multivariate logistic regression analysis the presence of systolic murmur was a strong predictor for both 'borderline' (OR 4.3 [2.8-6.5]) and 'definite RHD' (OR 5.2 [1.7-15.2]), while no specific country/geographic area of origin was statistically associated with an increased risk of latent, asymptomatic RHD. Screening for RHD among the unaccompanied migrant minors in Italy proved to be feasible. The burden of 'definite RHD' was similar to that identified in resource-poor settings, while the prevalence of 'borderline' cases was higher than reported in other studies. In view of these findings, the health system of high-income countries, hosting migrants and asylum seekers, are urged to adopt screening for RHD in particular among the silent and marginalized population of refugee and migrant children.
  • Delays in arrival and treatment in emergency departments: Women, children and non-trauma consultations the most at risk in humanitarian settings

    Guzman, IB; Cuesta, JG; Trelles, M; Jaweed, O; Cherestal, S; van Loenhout, JAF; Guha-Sapir, D (Public Library of Science, 2019-03-05)
    Introduction Delays in arrival and treatment at health facilities lead to negative health outcomes. Individual and external factors could be associated with these delays. This study aimed to assess common factors associated with arrival and treatment delays in the emergency departments (ED) of three hospitals in humanitarian settings. Methodology This was a cross-sectional study based on routine data collected from three MSF-supported hospitals in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sierra Leone. We calculated the proportion of consultations with delay in arrival (>24 hours) and in treatment (based on target time according to triage categories). We used a multinomial logistic regression model (MLR) to analyse the association between age, sex, hospital and diagnosis (trauma and non-trauma) with these delays. Results We included 95,025 consultations. Males represented 65.2%, Delay in arrival was present in 27.8% of cases and delay in treatment in 27.2%. The MLR showed higher risk of delay in arrival for females (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.2–1.3), children <5 (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.4–1.5), patients attending to Gondama (OR 30.0, 95% CI 25.6–35.3) and non-trauma cases (OR 4.7, 95% CI 4.4–4.8). A higher risk of delay in treatment was observed for females (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.1), children <5 (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.9–2.1), patients attending to Martissant (OR 14.6, 95% CI 13.9–15.4) and non-trauma cases (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.5–1.7). Conclusions Women, children <5 and non-trauma cases suffered most from delays. These delays could relate to educational and cultural barriers, and severity perception of the disease. Treatment delay could be due to insufficient resources with consequent overcrowding, and severity perception from medical staff for non-trauma patients. Extended community outreach, health promotion and support to community health workers could improve emergency care in humanitarian settings.

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