Refugee camp health services utilisation by non-camp residents as an indicator of unaddressed health needs of surrounding populations: a perspective from Mae La refugee camp in Thailand during 2006 and 2007
Introduction: this study explored the differences on the level of medical care required by camp and non-camp resident patients during utilisation of the health services in Mae La refugee camp, Tak province, Thailand during the years 2006 and 2007.
Methods: data were extracted from camp registers and the Health Information System used during the years 2006 and 2007 and statistical analysis was performed.
Results: the analysis showed that during 2006 and 2007 non-camp resident patients, coming from Thailand as well as Myanmar, who sought care in the outpatient depart-ment (OPD) of the camp required at a significantly higher proportion admission to the inpatient department (IPD) or referral to the district hospital compared to camp resident patients. Although there was a statistically significant increased mortality of the non-camp resident patients admitted in the IPD compared to camp resident patients, there was no significant difference in mortality among these two groups when the re-ferrals to the district hospital were analysed.
Conclusion: non-camp resident patients tended to need a more advanced level of medical care compared to camp resident patients. Provided that this it is further vali-dated, the above observed pattern might be potentially useful as an indirect indicator of unaddressed health needs of populations surrounding a refugee camp.