Neurological and Mental Health Problems Among Refugees from South Asia

Maryam J. Syed, Mohammad Wasay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


South Asian countries have a long and complex geopolitical history riddled with armed conflicts and natural disasters, resulting in an ever-increasing number of forcibly displaced individuals (FDIs) across the region. There is a dearth of knowledge regarding the neurological and mental health issues of migrants and refugees in South Asians as global health organizations have typically focused their efforts towards acute neurological conditions and infectious outbreaks. However, recent studies indicate that chronic non-communicable diseases, including debilitating neurological and psychiatric health issues, are prevalent in these populations and require urgent action and attention of the local and international organizations dedicated to improving health outcomes of displaced populations. Afghan and Rohingya refugees make up a significant proportion of FDIs in South Asia and face significant mental and physical health challenges. Additionally, there is a rising number of internally displaced individuals owing to armed military operations and natural disasters. Most South Asian countries lack a large-scale healthcare infrastructure dedicated to anticipating the challenges associated with providing neurological care during humanitarian crises in low-resource settings. Solutions include establishing legislation for protection of refugee health rights, urging governments to develop specific health policies for displaced populations, improving living conditions and access to food and affordable health services for individuals living in refugee camps and slum settings, training healthcare providers working in the field to better diagnose and treat neurological and mental health conditions and providing psychosocial services to the most vulnerable subsets among displaced populations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development Goals Series
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameSustainable Development Goals Series
VolumePart F2691
ISSN (Print)2523-3084
ISSN (Electronic)2523-3092


  • Forcibly displaced individuals
  • Mental health
  • Migrants
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Refugees
  • South Asia


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