An Introduction to the IFD Migrant Health Dermatology Working Group

3 March 2021

Since early 2020, the Migrant Health Dermatology Working Group (MHDWG) of the IFD has brought together dermatology specialists from around the world to discuss some of the most pressing skin health issues facing migrants and refugees.

Various camps Working Group Members have visited and treated patients

The Working Group shares best practice and advocates for improved skin health provision for migrants, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Globally there are around 80 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and among these groups skin diseases are highly prevalent while their access to specialised healthcare is often limited. The issue of migrant health has grown in the last decade as a result of the Syrian conflict, the expulsion of Rohingya people from Myanmar, and the arrival of many migrants in southern Europe, as well as refugee crises around the world.

In April 2020 the MHDWG held its first online summit to discuss and develop skin and sexual health care for refugees, migrants, and IDPs and to understand the additional trials they face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the summit, the work of the group has been further developed through five workshops which have examined:

  • implementation of teledermatology;
  • developing a dermatology curriculum for teaching health care workers in refugee camps;
  • partnering with local NGOs;
  • improving access to HIV and sexual health interventions; and
  • developing a dermatological formulary for displaced persons camps.

One of the breakout groups is looking at developing a key medicines formulary brought together by dermatologists with experience working in these settings around the world including Jordan, East Africa, and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – the largest refugee camp in the world; together with pharmacists, and project officers from the NGO Direct Relief. The group highlighted the difficulties in ensuring a supply of effective medicines due to the challenges of procuring authentic and reliable products. The group aims to create a list of recommended dermatological medicines that are available for healthcare providers based in camps.

This is a dynamic area of work for the IFD. Anyone with dermatological experience in migrant, refugee and displaced person settings who would like to get involved, please contact info@ilds.org.

Migrant Health Dermatology Working Group (MHDWG) Members: Claire Fuller, Toby Maurer, Chris Griffiths, Valeska Padovese, Wendemagegn Enbiale, Su Lwin, Sidra Khan, Aileen Chang, Amy Forrestel, Rod Hay, Ser-Ling Chua, Alexia Knapp, Ncoza Dlova, Aisha Sethi, Bayanne Olabi, Jenny Hughes, Ismael Maatouk, Tori Williams, Kari Wanat and Grace Bandow

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