Treating Syrian refugees with diabetes and hypertension in Shatila refugee camp, Lebanon: Médecins Sans Frontières model of care and treatment outcomes.
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JournalConflict and Health
AbstractMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing primary care for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which have been increasing in low to middle-income countries, in the Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, Lebanon, using a comprehensive model of care to respond to the unmet needs of Syrian refugees. The objectives of this study were to: 1) describe the model of care used and the Syrian refugee population affected by diabetes mellitus (DM) and/or hypertension (HTN) who had ≥ one visit in the MSF NCD clinic in Shatila in 2017, and 2) assess 6 month treatment outcomes. A descriptive retrospective cohort study using routinely collected program data for a model of care for patients with DM and HTN consisting of four main components: case management, patient support and education counseling, integrated mental health, and health promotion. Of 2644 Syrian patients with DM and/or HTN, 8% had Type-1 DM, 30% had Type-2 DM, 30% had HTN and 33% had DM + HTN. At intake, patients had a median age of 53, were predominantly females (63%), mostly from outside the catchment area (70%) and diagnosed (97%) prior to enrollment. After 6 months of care compared to intake: 61% of all patients had controlled DM (HbA1C < 8%) and 50% had controlled blood pressure (BP: < 140/90 mmHg) compared to 29 and 32%, respectively ( The MSF model of care for DM and HTN operating in the Shatila refugee camp is feasible, and showed promising outcomes among enrolled individuals. It may be replicated in similar contexts to respond to the increasing burden of NCDs among refugees in the Middle-East and elsewhere.