The mental health problems of Burundi refugees living in Tabora Tanzania
The main objective for this study was to find out the prevalence of mental health problems among refugees and the factors contributing to their development. Literature review revealed that research work in this field is scanty and often very difficult to interpret because of lack of comparison studies. However from the few studies reviewed there is a universal agreement that refugee status perse causes considerable emotional distress. This prospective study covered 120 cases of refugees from the outpatient clinic at Ulyankulu health centre in tabora and 120 cases of refugees from the outpatient clinic at Ulyankulu health centre in tabora and 121 controls from Mzumbe dispensary in Morogoro, Tanzania.The study and the control populations were obtained by a systematic sampling method and were subjected to a two - stage screening procedure by the author. (appendix ii). The data collected was analysed by computero Psychiatric morbidity among the refugees was 56.7% compared to 35.4% among the control group. The prevalence of mental illnesses Was higher among the refugees than among the control group. (x2 = 10.827 df = 1P = 0.001 ). The leading diagnosis was that of affective disorders with a predominance of reactive depression. When the prevalence rates of the study and the control populations were compared with those of other community studies they were found to be very high. The possible reasons for such high rates are discussed below.The pattern of the symptom presentation of the illnesses among the two groups was however not significantly different from those of other community studies done elsewhere in africa. The study has not been able to identify specific factors which have contributed to the development of mental health of refugees. Those discussed below need to be studied individually in order to find out theirspecific effects on the mental health of refugees.From this study it is obvious that refugees have a problem as far as their mental health is concerned and that thereis a need for a well planned mental health service for the Ulyankulu refugees. The author has formulated some recommendations which are also clarifying the role of the host country, voluntary agencies and the international community in the promotion of the mental health of refugees.