The health status of children without a resident permit consulting the Children’s Hospital of Lausanne
Objective: To assess social, economic and medical data concerning children without a resident permit taken into care by the Children’s Hospital of Lausanne (HEL) in order to evaluate their specific needs.
Methods: Prospective exploratory study by a questionnaire including the socio-demographic, medical and education data of 103 children without a resident permit, who consulted the HEL for the first time between August 2003 and March 2006. These children were then recalled for a second check-up one year later in order to allow a regular monitoring.
Results: Eighty-seven percent of the children were native of Latin America, 36% being less than two years old. This population of children lived in precarious conditions with a family income lower than the poverty level (89% of the families with less than 3100 CHF/month). Forty-five percent of the children had a health insurance. The main reasons for consultation were infectious diseases, a check-up requested by the school or a check-up concerning newborn children. Most of them were in good health and the others were affected by illnesses similar to those found in other children of the same age. At least 13% of the children were obese and 27% were overweight. All children who were of educational age went to school during the year after the first check-up and 48% were affiliated to a health insurance.
Conclusions: The majority of the children from Latin America lived in very precarious conditions. Their general health status was good and most of them could benefit from regular check-ups. Prevention, focused on a healthier life style, was particularly important among this population characterised by a high incidence of overweight and obesity.
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