American University of Beirut

More than half of older Syrian refugees in Lebanon have at least one non-communicable disease, and self-management remains a challenge owing to financial and accessibility barriers.

​According to a new study published on October 13, 2022, in JAMA Network Open, more than half of older Syrian refugees in Lebanon reported having at least one non-communicable disease (NCD), among whom 20.4% could not manage at least one of their condition (s). The Center for Research on Population and Health (CRPH) at the American University of Beirut undertook this cross-sectional multi-wave study to identify predictors of inability to manage any NCD (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary respiratory disease). CRPH developed and validated a predictive model and found that the predictors for inability to manage NCDs include age, cash assistance, household water insecurity, household food insecurity, and having multiple chronic diseases.

The study respondents reported difficulty in adherence owing to unaffordability or unavailability of medications. Another barrier to the management of an NCD that emerged from the study was the inability to access primary health care, mainly because of the cost of the doctor’s visit, tests, or medication. Hence, researchers call for a sustained support from international organization to overcome financial and accessibility barriers in a country that has been enduring multiple crisis.

CRPH researchers add, these findings are important, not only to identify older refugees who are at a greater risk of being unable to manage their NCDs, but also to advocate for equitable access to medication and health care.    

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Read the published manuscript here​

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