Treatment for ongoing conditions is frequently disrupted during emergencies, while those fleeing the frontlines of conflict or natural disaster may suffer acute injuries or illnesses.
UNHCR works with governments and partners to provide emergency health services, improve local health services, and include refugees in national health systems and plans.
Years of forced displacement can take a significant toll on an individual’s health and wellbeing.
UNHCR’s health programmes include neo-natal care, physiotherapy, reproductive health initiatives, and treatment for diseases like AIDS and cancer. UNHCR also helps displaced people access nutritious foods and clean water.
Treating mental health issues is an integral part of UNHCR’s work. Many refugees experience trauma on their journey to safety, putting significant psychological strain on individuals, families and communities. UNHCR provides psychosocial support to help affected people rebuild their lives.
In Cox's Bazar, new mother Hamida Khatun receives advice on breastfeeding, diet, hygiene and post-natal care.
UNHCR provides sexual and reproductive health services for displaced people, covering maternal and newborn care, access to contraception, and prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Louai has been a refugee almost all his life. His family fled Palestine when Louai was young and he grew up in Egypt and Libya. It was in Libya that Louai met his wife, Karima.
When civil war broke out, Louai was forced to flee again. He and Karima found safety in Tunisia, however, Louai continued to travel to Libya for work, and it was there – in 2014 – that he suffered a stroke.
“I was praying for him to wake up,” says Karima. “I was speaking to him, giving him cuddles. I was about to lose my mind.”
The stroke left Louai partially paralysed and dependent on his wife’s care.
Louai’s refugee status made it difficult for him to receive the necessary medical treatment he required.
UNHCR advocated for the inclusion of refugees in national assistance programs and, with support from local partners, secured a healthcare card for Louai. This means he can now access free healthcare, transport and medical equipment, easing some of the family’s stress.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.