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Study Pregnant asylum seekers lack adequate mental healthcare

Basic medical services for asylum seekers in Switzerland are guaranteed, but there is lack of psychological support for pregnant refugees


Researchers have found that pregnant asylum seekers in Switzerland often lack sufficient psychological support because of cuts in subsidies for translation and counselling services.

Help in cases of mental distress is not always guaranteed for this particularly vulnerable group of people, according to a study published by Bern’s College of Applied Sciences on Wednesday.

However, basic medical services for pregnant women are guaranteed, the study commissioned by the Federal Health Office has found.

Spending cuts for interpreters and special care services might also contribute to asylum seekers’ lack of understanding of the Swiss health system, the statement said.

The researchers criticise the fact that asylum seekers are not given enough information or easy access to more specific means of contraception.

They recommend special counselling services, including midwives and nurses, are integrated in health teams for asylum seekers.

The study is based on data from just over 150 women from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria aged 18-48, who live in asylum centres across Switzerland.

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