244861 Gender-Based Violence and Mental Health in Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Kampala, Uganda

Monday, October 31, 2011: 3:06 PM

Diane Morof, MD MSc , EIS Officer, International Emergency Refugee Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Samira Sami, MPH , International Emergency Refugee Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Maria Mangeni , Community Programs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Kampala, Uganda
Curtis Blanton, MS , International Emergency Refugee Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Basia Tomczyk, RN, MS, DrPH , International Emergency Refugee Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta GA, GA
Background: The relationship between gender-based violence (GBV) and mental health outcomes among conflict-affected populations has been documented. However data on urban refugees, a population representing nearly half of the world's 10.5 million refugees, is limited. We assessed the relationship between GBV and mental health outcomes among a population of female urban refugees. Methods: Using a computerized database, we selected a stratified simple random sample of Congolese and Somali refugees/asylum seekers aged 1559 living in Kampala during September 2010. Trained interviewers assessed history of violence, depressive symptoms (using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire). To measure the association between violence and PTSD, we used logistic regression, adjusting for age and relationship status. Results: Of the 500 women selected, 117 participated (23.4% response rate, 1.2% refusal rate). Women lived in Kampala an average of 3 years. The lifetime prevalence of experiencing any violence (physical and/or sexual violence), physical violence and sexual violence were 77.5%, 76.2% and 63.3%, respectively. Almost all women (92%) had depression symptoms and 71.1% had PTSD symptoms. Women with a history of physical violence were more likely to report symptoms of PTSD (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=8.4, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]=2.330.5), as were women with a history of sexual violence (AOR=4.2, 95% CI=1.511.7). Conclusions: Despite a low response rate, a history of violence was strongly associated with PTSD among the majority of women surveyed. Survey findings expanded access to psychosocial programs for refugees however additional GBV and mental health services are needed.

Learning Areas:
Epidemiology
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe violence, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder among urban refugees and asylum seekers in Kampala, Uganda Discuss challanges to conducting research among the urban refugee population

Keywords: Refugees, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I contributed to the design, training, implementation, data collection, cleaning of data and analysis of this study. I have an MSc in Repoductive and Sexual Health Research and am in a 2 year post doctoral fellowship in applied Epidemiology (EIS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.