The Current

Medical experts face health care challenges treating Syrian refugees

After months or years living in a refugee camp, what could be more welcome then Canadian health care. We hear from medical professionals on how they are preparing to meet the health care needs of Syrian refugees, from treating psychiatric trauma, to untreated war wounds, to chronic illnesses.
Syrian refugees arriving to Canada come with unique health problems after living in refugee camps for months or years, including complex and serious mental health issues. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
To be part of the journey is very rewarding and I know from our staff and physicians ... it's very exciting. We're all very proud of what we do and we just want to make sure that they have good health.- Jason Shener , Executive Director, Mosaic Refugee Health Centre in Calgary

As 25,000 Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada. And of course, with so many having spent months, and years in refugee camps before their voyages here to Canada, clinics such as the Mosaic Refugee Health Centre in Calgary will be busy in the weeks and months ahead.

"We're preparing for the influx. The clinic itself doesn't have the capacity but we have the luxury of working with the community physicians. Right now, a lot coming in a short period of time does cause us a little bit of anxiety. - Jason  Shener , Executive Director, Mosaic Refugee Health Centre in Calgary
Fatima al-Lawoz's friend was shot in 2012 while they were walking in Homs, a Syrian city devastated by the country's civil war. The traumatic loss has made it hard for her to form new friendships. (Derek Stoffel/CBC)

To discuss the health care needs of refugees, we were joined by three guests:

  • Dr. Jaswant Guzder is the Head of Child Psychiatry and the Director of the Childhood Disorders Day Hospital at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
  • Dr. Meb Rashid is the medical director of the Crossroads Clinic for refugees at Toronto's Women's College Hospital.
  • Nada Sidani is a registered nurse in Ontario, who has worked with war refugees in Syria during the crisis, and witnessed firsthand atrocities of the war and displacement and migration of people. She was in Toronto.

If you work in the health care field and expect to work with new Syrian refugees, or have experience treating refugees, let us know.

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Post on our Facebook page or send us an email.

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.