Abstract

Background:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is reported to be common among refugees. We set out to explore risk of Trauma- and Stress-or-Related Disorders and the associated burden of psychological distress in a refugee camp of Malian Refugees in Burkina Faso.

Methods:

One out of five persons living in the camp was selected randomly and interviewed using the French version of the Short Screening Scale for PTSD and the validated K6 scale to measure psychiatric morbidity.

Results:

Around 60% of the interviewed sample (N=408) met the criteria for Trauma- and Stress-or-Related Disorders and also reported severe mental distress on K6 scores. Women aged 40 and over were found to be at higher risk of Trauma- and Stress-or-Related Disorders whereas young people (39 or younger) scored higher on K6 ratings. Around 83% of the surveyed subjects had a family member killed in the war, 91% a relative in the war, more than 80% had a family member suffering from physical injuries, and 90% reported problems with food and housing. The frequency of these life events was not surprisingly higher in persons with Trauma- and Stress-or-Related Disorders, with the death of a family member and severe problems with food being specifically related to them.Conclusion: These results point to important psychological suffering in a population that is often ignored by the media and international political authorities. Immediate steps are required to provide urgent legal and humanitarian protection to those who are forced to flee their homes and cross international borders because of disasters.

Keywords: : PTSD, Screening, War, Touareg.
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