Saskatoon

Saskatchewan doctors prepare for refugee arrival

The province's medical association is asking doctors to step forward and help Syrian refugees coming to Saskatchewan.

Physicians expect many refugees need mental health and dental care

Basic health care coverage for the newcomers will be provided by the provincial government, including physician visits, hospital care, and emergency services. (CBC)

Physicians in the province are making preparations for the arrival of hundreds of Syrian refugees.

According to the Saskatchewan Medical Association, a letter was sent to all Saskatchewan physicians encouraging them to help the refugees integrate into the health system. The SMA and the College of Physicians and Surgeons noted that doctors from the Middle East and those who spoke Arabic would be especially valuable.
A site at the Saskatoon Community Clinic has been established where health services will be provided to Syrian refugees. (CBC)

"These people have experienced significant trauma because of the violence and war in their home country. In light of this, many will be dealing with mental health issues," said Dr. Mark Brown, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, in a news release.

"It's quite likely that some will have untreated chronic diseases and children will not be immunized for childhood diseases," he added.

Saskatoon community clinic offers help

Yvonne Blonde is a family physician in Saskatoon and is part of a refugee collaborative committee. The group is made up of community stake holders including settlement agencies, members of public health, the Saskatoon Health Region, and the College of Medicine,

We have been trying to establish a clinic for all refugees that arrive in Saskatoon for some time now.- Yvonne Blonde, Saskatoon family physician 

Blonde said the group has been coming together for over a year to establish better dedicated health services for refugees in the city.

"We have been trying to establish a clinic for all refugees that arrive in Saskatoon for some time now," she said. 

"Recently, with the war in Syria, we are expecting higher numbers of refugees into Saskatoon over the next three months. And so, we now have more of an acute need for health services for this population."

Blonde said a site has been established at the Saskatoon Community Clinic where there will be acute and screening health services for Syrian refugees. She said services, including access to interpreters, will be available as soon as the refugees land.

Basic health care coverage for the newcomers will be provided by the provincial government. This includes physician visits, hospital care, and emergency services.

Supplementary services under the Interim Federal Health Program will also be provided for qualified refugees.