In this section
This guideline is intended to provide a brief summary of background and health issues for newly arriving Afghan refugees, noting the additional complexity of Covid, and lockdowns and hotel quarantine (HQ) requirements at the time of arrival for the initial uplift in August 2021.
Useful Afghan calendar converter and UNHCR situation report
In late August 2021, the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan - see summary of events. More than 120,000 people were evacuated over the 10 days to 31 August 2021, by many different nations (see media). Evacuees included both foreign nationals, and around 65,000 Afghans. Australia evacuated 4100 people (see Prime Minister's press conference and media), with 3500 travelling on to Australia, including 2500 women and children. UNHCR reports more than 1.6 million people have left Afghanistan for neighbouring countries since August 2021.
Australia allocated 3000 places from the existing humanitarian intake for the initial uplift, and many agencies urged an additional intake of Afghan refugees - see Refugee Council of Australia. Australia (then Minister Alex Hawke) announced an Advisory Panel on Australia's Resettlement of Afghan Nationals in August 2021 and then $27.1M in funding for an Afghan Settlement Support package in October 2021. In January 2022, Minister Hawke announced a further allocation of 15,000 places within the existing humanitarian (10,000 places) and family visa programs (5000 places) over the next 4 years, and on 29/3/22, the federal budget allocated an additional humanitarian intake (above the existing humanitarian intake) of 16,500 Afghan refugees over 4 years (funding of $666 million).
As of end 2022 (also noting the change of Australian government) - in total there will be 31,500 places for Afghan nationals over 4 years - 26,500 places under the humanitarian program (10,000+16,500) and at least 5000 places under the family migration stream.
Due to covid, new arrivals were subject to HQ after arrival and placed in HQ in WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Qld and NT. HQ arrangements (and healthcare available in HQ) varied across the jurisdictions.
Unlike other humanitarian arrivals, very few Afghan refugees in the uplift had an offshore Immigration Medical Examination (IME) (which is recorded on the offshore Health Assessment Portal (HAP) system). Check HAP for all offshore refugee visas and humanitarian arrivals. The HSP provider can access the HAP number (but not the HAP system) - (Victoria -contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
All new arrivals should have an initial health assessment after arrival. In 2021, timing was affected by health service access with Covid and delays in Medicare. Incorporate
We have seen widespread B12 deficiency in children from Afghanistan.
Catch-up immunisation will be required for everyone, including full catch-up for anyone without a written record of vaccination, Covid vaccination is also a priority and can be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Immediate priorities for large new arrival cohorts include:
There has been wide ranging impact on Afghan communities in Australia, including those who arrived seeking asylum - this is an active consideration in clinic reviews of any new/existing patients.
Immigrant health clinic resources. Author Georgie Paxton, Jen Schaefer, Sep 2021, last update 9 Feb 2023 - Contact: email@example.com