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Lessons from the Profile of Kidney Diseases Among Afghan Refugees

Salman Otoukesh, Mona Mojtahedzadeh, Chad J. Cooper, Ramin Tolouian, Sarmad Said, Lauro Ortega, S. Claudia Didia, Arash Behazin, Dean Sherzai, Pedro Blandon

Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, USA

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:1621-1627

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.890958

Available online:

Published: 2014-09-11

Background: Due to a paucity of research on the profile of kidney diseases among refugee populations, specifically Afghan refugees in Iran, this study aimed to illustrate the pattern of kidney disease among Afghan refugees in Iran and create a database for evaluating the performance of future health services.
Material and Methods: This was a retrospective cross sectional study, in which we collected the demographics and profile of kidney diseases among Afghan refugees between 2005 and 2010 from referrals to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Iran.
Results: The total number of referrals in this group of diseases was 3193 out of 23 152 with 41.5% female and 58.5% male. Regarding age distribution, 10.5% were 0–14 years of age, 78% were 15–59, and 11.5% were ≥60. The most common health referral for females and males (0–14) was end-stage renal disease (ESRD), accounting for 34.6%. This was also the main reason of referrals for females and males aged 15–59, accounting for 73.5% and 66.6%, respectively, and in both sexes in the ≥60 age range it was 63.1%.
Conclusions: The pattern of our renal clinic referrals may gradually change to ESRD, which is associated with a huge economic burden. The need to provide health insurance to everyone or reform the health care system to provide coverage for more of the population can be justified and would improve cost effectiveness.

Keywords: Afghanistan - ethnology, Adult, Adolescent, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Newborn, Kidney Diseases - ethnology, Refugees - statistics & numerical data, young adult