Sana Syed, a doctor in the US has raised concern about the level of medical care available in refugee camps and the long times refugees wait to be screened to enter the US. She came to this conclusion after she found herself treating a young five-year old refugee boy from Syria with permanent brain damage.
The boy was born in a Refugee camp and suffered from jaundice, which led to brain damage due to the lack of medical care being provided. This had caused ‘developmental delay, spasticity, seizures and learning disabilities’. The parents’ of the boy had already lost their older son due to meningitis.
Syed explains that the particular form of brain damage called Kernicterus is rarely - if ever - experienced by US children. She goes on to say that it is not merely lack of medical facilities for refugee mothers and children, which cause these life-threatening diseases but a lack of routine healthcare programme. Doctors immediately test a baby after 24 hours of being born and thereafter regularly to prevent Kernicterus which can not happen in the camps.
She further comments on the policy of the US in which it takes up to two years to scan through refugee applications by saying that these policies have a negative effect on children who suffer through such diseases without ‘basic healthcare’.
“World leaders can talk about necessary losses and collateral damages, but there are some things that we should not accept.”