Health service utilization and adherence to medication for hypertension and diabetes among Syrian refugees and affected host communities in Lebanon

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Original Article

Methods

This study uses data from a 2015 household survey of Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities. A total of 1,376 refugee and 686 host community households were surveyed using a cluster design with probability proportional to size sampling. Differences in outcomes of interest by population group were examined using Pearson’s chi-square and t-test methods and the crude and adjusted odds of care-seeking and interrupted medication adherence among Syrian refugees were estimated using logistic regression.

Results

Findings identified significant gaps between refugees and host community members in care-seeking, health facility utilization, out-of-pocket payments for care, and medication interruption. While host community members had better access to care and fewer reports of medication interruption compared to refugees, out-of-pocket spending for the most recent care visit was significantly higher among host community care-seekers. Refugee care-seekers most frequently received care at primary health facilities, choosing to do so mainly for reasons related to cost, whereas host community care-seekers predominantly utilized private clinics with greater concern for quality and continuity of care.

Conclusion

Further efforts are needed to facilitate lower and more predictable health service costs for refugees and vulnerable host community members, as is continued communication on available subsidized care.


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