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Refugee Health Program: Afghan Health Resources

As Wisconsin welcomes Afghan arrivals to our state, it is important our providers have the knowledge and resources they need to provide culturally-informed care.

For more information on Afghan arrivals and Operation Allies Welcome, see the Department of Homeland Security’s webpage.

For resources on culturally informed health care for Afghan arrivals, see below.

Please note that some general refugee health resources have been included. They may still be useful in guiding care for newly arrived Afghans.


View the Wisconsin Refugee Health Program's recent presentation on Afghan resettlement.

Afghan Culture and Health Screening Considerations—A webinar by the Minnesota Center of Excellence in Newcomer Health. It describes entry pathways for Afghans as well as possible health concerns. It also gives cultural considerations for providers.

Afghan Evacuees Health Resources—A resource hub from the University of Minnesota. It includes medical conditions, screening tools, and cultural training tools and resources.

Brief Overview for Clinicians Caring for Afghan New Arrivals (PDF) — An overview from the Minnesota Center for Excellence in Refugee Health. It includes details on medical interpretation, health conditions, and prior health screening for Afghan refugees. The Department of Health (DHS) Services highly recommends this resource.

CareRef—A tool for clinicians that gives guidance on post-arrival medical screenings. It is based on (CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Domestic Refugee Screening Guidance and the specialized needs of refugee populations. (The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) highly recommends this resource.)

Caring for Newly Arrived Afghans — A free, four-hour online course. It helps providers to prepare for newly arrived Afghans. It includes information on topics such as medical exams and mental health care.

CDC’s Response to Afghan Evacuees—A webpage with health fact-sheets in English, Dari, Pashto, and Farsi. It includes documents on COVID-19, infectious diseases, hand washing, masking, and maternal health.

Guidance for Clinicians Caring for Individuals Recently Evacuated from Afghanistan — A health advisory from the CDC. It gives infection-specific advice for those caring for the Afghan arrivals.

Guide: Responding to Human Trafficking Among Individuals from Afghanistan Tip Sheet—A guide from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It outlines how to respond to human trafficking among those from Afghanistan.

Heal Project (PDF) - Information about the Health Extension For our Afghan Allies (HEAL) project. It aims to extend mental health access and longitudinal care for Afghan refugees in the US.

Preparing to Care for Afghan Refugees — A webpage from the American College of Emergency Physicians. It has information and resources on Afghan culture. It also outlines clinical concerns for practitioners.

Quick Communication Guide for Afghan Patients (PDF) — Translations of common medical terms and medications. Available in English, Dari, and Pashto.

Translated Vaccine Information Statements — Links to the CDC’s vaccine information statements. It is available in multiple languages.

Afghan Clinic – Website with information about the Afghan Clinic, a public health initiative created by and for Afghan refugees to promote the wellbeing of Afghan people. Article in a UC Berkeley publication about the initiative.

Afghan Evacuees Health Resources — A resource hub from the University of Minnesota. It includes medical conditions, screening tools, and cultural training tools and resources.

Afghanistan - Culture, Etiquette, and Business Practices — A webpage with details on many parts of Afghan culture. This includes language, religion and beliefs, social etiquette, and customs.

Afghanistan Health Profile—A data profile from UNICEF on child health in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Health Profile (2015) (PDF) — A profile from the World Health Organization. It details information on diseases, health systems, and demographic profiles of Afghanistan.

Brief Overview for Clinicians Caring for Afghan New Arrivals (PDF) — An overview from the Minnesota Center of Excellence in Refugee Health. It includes details on medical interpretation, potential health conditions, and prior health screening within the context of Afghan arrivals.

Caring for Newly Arrived Refugees — A free, four-hour online course. It helps providers to prepare for newly arrived Afghans. It includes information on topics such as medical exams and mental health care.

CDC's Response to Afghan Evacuees — A webpage with health fact sheets in English, Dari, Pashto, and Farsi. It includes documents on COVID-19, various diseases, hand washing, masking, and maternal health.

Cultural Quick Reference Guide for Afghanistan — A guide by the Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center. It has information on Afghan cultural norms, health information, communication, and country-specific TB facts.

Guidance for Clinicians Caring for Individuals Recently Evacuated from Afghanistan—A health advisory from the CDC. It gives infection-specific advice for those caring for the Afghan arrivals.

Practicing Cultural Humility when Serving Immigrant and Refugee Communities—A guide from EthnoMed on cultural humility for clinicians and providers.

Preparing to Care for Afghan Refugees — A webpage from the American College of Emergency Physicians. It has information and resources on Afghan culture. It also outlines clinical concerns for practitioners.

Quick Communication Guide for Afghan Patients (Medical-Specific Translations) (PDF) — Translations of common medical terms and medications. These are available in English, Dari, and Pashto.

Responding to Increased Arrivals from Afghanistan (2021) — A guide from CORE. Its aim is to help staff care for Afghan arrivals in a culturally informed way.

Traveler's Health Guide to Afghanistan (2021) — This guide from the CDC offers a profile of various health concerns in Afghanistan.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention: Refugees and Other Newcomer Persons Resettled in the United States — CDC webpage on the higher risk of lead poisoning in refugee and other newcomer children. It includes details on the causes and risk factors of exposure. It also gives lead screening recommendations, and has case studies.

Lead Poisoning in Children public service announcement video — A video by Washington's Afghan Health Initiative. It explains the risk of lead poisoning as well as the causes of lead exposure and how to prevent it. (English | Pashto)

Screening for Lead During the Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arrived Refugees — A CDC webpage on lead exposure and lead screening recommendations.

Surma Can Poison Children (PDF) — An infographic by Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit. It has information on lead poisoning, products with high lead content, safer product alternatives, and testing. (Dari | Pashto | Urdu)

Afghan Behavioral Health Support: The Office of Refugee Resettlement's new website offers Afghan behavioral health support including the new wellness helpline (1-800-615-6514), which offers counseling services to newcomers who are experiencing distress. Counseling is culturally appropriate and available in Dari, Pashto, and English. Service providers could also utilize the 24/7 helpline.

Resources for care provision

Afghan Humanitarian Arrivals: Post resettlement stressors, coping strategies, and the Afghan Symptom Checklist — A Minnesota Center of Excellence webinar. It has examples of stresses facing Afghan arrivals. It also outlines cultural understanding of distress and mental health, how to get help, and use of the Afghan Symptom Checklist.

Building a Culturally Informed Network of Refugee Mental Healthcare Providers — A guide for refugee service providers to increase cultural awareness in mental health practitioners.

Guide to Trauma-Informed Care: Preventing Crises and De-escalating Difficult Situations—A guide to help service providers interact with refugees in a trauma-informed way.

Headington Institute Resources—A collection of resources, including articles, reading courses, exercises, videos, and other materials helping caregivers to address resiliency, self-care, and vicarious trauma.

Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care—A website with talks, online modules, and manuals on trauma-informed care.

Mental Health First Aid—A website with trainings, courses, and resources on how to identify and support those with mental health or substance abuse problems.

Psychological First Aid — A website by Unbound Medicine. with the “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” of Psychological First Aid as well as implementation.

Psychological First Aid During COVID-19 — A webinar on how to use PFA in the context of refugee health and COVID-19.

Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers (PDF)—A guide from the World Health Organization to practicing PFA in crisis situations as well as how to care for one's self and colleagues.

Psychological First Aid (PFA) to Support Clients Affected by the Crisis in Afghanistan — A Switchboard webinar presenting the principles of PFA, especially as it pertains to clients affected by the Afghanistan crisis

The 5 Components of Psychological First Aid — An article on the tools of PFA that can be used to "help patients as they respond to traumatic events."

Secondary trauma resources for care providers

Bearing Witness: Traumatic Stress and the Helping Professional—A webinar by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Practice Transformation. It focuses on how to identify and manage secondary traumatic stress. It also details the differences between secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, moral injury, compassion fatigue, and burnout.

"I Was Already Burned Out, and Now This..." Strategies for Staff and Supervisors to Mitigate Burnout, Vicarious Trauma, and Other Occupational Hazards—A 2020 Switchboard training for front-line and management staff who work with refugees. It outlines types of occupational hazards for emotional distress and how to respond.

ProQOL Secondary Traumatic Stress Handout—A PDF handout by ProQOL with English, Arabic, and Kiswahili translations. It outlines the definition of secondary traumatic stress. It also lists symptoms, risk factors, and self-care practices.

NCTSN Secondary Traumatic Stress Series — A series of webinars by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. It includes “Cultural Implications of Secondary Traumatic Stress,” “Secondary Traumatic Stress and Provider Self Care in Disaster and Terrorism Settings, Organizational Secondary Traumatic Stress,” and “Secondary Traumatic Stress...What is it?”

Wellbeing for Service Providers During COVID-19: Managing our Own Emotional Needs While Helping Refugee Clients—A Switchboard article for those helping refugees. It discusses the emotional challenges in helping professions. It also gives ways to recognize and address them.

Working with Young People in the Trauma Space: Vicarious Trauma — An Orygen webinar for professionals working with young people who have gone through trauma and injustice. It describes a framework of self-care rather than specific self-care practices.

Having a Baby in a New Country: The Views and Experiences of Afghan Families and Stakeholders (2013) (PDF)—A report on maternal and child health which describes the views and experiences of Afghan families as they deal with new health systems.

HEAR HER Campaign (CDC): A campaign that supports the CDC's efforts to prevent pregnancy-related deaths by sharing potentially life-saving messages about urgent warning signs.

Obstetric Care in Afghanistan and How to Provide Obstetric Care for Afghan Refugee Patients in the U.S. (2017) (PDF) — A short paper focusing on culturally-informed ante- and perinatal care for Afghan patients.

Learn more. See the Maternity section under “Translated Health Resources.” You’ll find translated information and resources on maternal health.

Afghan Food and Cultural Profile: Dietetic Consultation Guide (PDF) — A guide to culturally-informed interactions with Afghan clients. It has information on traditional food and food practices as well as tips for intervention.

The Difference Between Halal and Zabiha—A webpage that defines the Islamic concepts of halal and zabiha.

WIC-Eligible Foods — A detailed list of foods that qualify for WIC.

Afghan Culture and Health Screening Considerations — A webinar by the Center of Excellence in Newcomer Health. It outlines entry pathways for Afghans. It also details health concerns and cultural issues.

Afghan Culture: Understanding Cultural Values, Attitudes, and Approaches to Mental Health — A webinar by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. It features a panel of mental health professionals and educators. The panel members are experienced in refugee trauma, education, and literacy. (Passcode: vCF08@Jr).

Afghan Humanitarian Arrivals: Leishmaniasis and Malaria—A webinar by the Minnesota Center of Excellence. It offers advice on dealing with Leishmaniasis and Malaria in Afghan patients.

Best Practices: COVID-19 Prevention and Mitigation Among Afghan Communities — A webinar by the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants. It highlights ways that the Afghan Health Initiative and Washington State Department of Health helped more people in their state’s Afghan community get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Creating a Welcoming and Healing Environment for Newly Arriving Afghan Children and Families — A webinar by the University of Minnesota. It covers topics such as health literacy and cultural competence, and trauma to resilience.

One Year On: The Situation for At-Risk Afghans in Afghanistan and Abroad — A two-panel webinar that reflects on the many challenges in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. It delves into the difficult choices facing aid donors and their partners. It also outlines what needs to be done to help those still at risk to reach safety.

Psychological First Aid (PFA) to Support Clients Affected by the Crisis in Afghanistan—A Switchboard webinar that gives the principles of PFA.

Welcoming Afghan Refugees — A webinar by the Islamic Council of North America. It features a panel of five speakers discussing the arrival of Afghan humanitarian newcomers

Who Are Refugees and How Do They Arrive in the United States? Understanding the Refugee Resettlement Process—A webinar by Switchboard outlining the resettlement process. It details the services refugees usually get, as well as expectations for 2022 refugee arrivals.

Who Are the Afghan Newcomers? Understanding the Background and Socio-Cultural Strengths and Needs of Afghan Evacuees to the United States—A Switchboard webinar which gives information on the events leading to the Afghanistan evacuation crisis. It also gives a social and cultural background of the country.

Wisconsin Resettlement and Afghan Arrivals—A presentation by Wisconsin State Refugee Health Coordinator Savitri Tsering on Operation Allies Welcome. It covers the resettlement process and the intersection of local health departments (please note map at 9:12:00 is inaccurate).

COVID-19

COVID-19 Symptoms fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Farsi

COVID-19 Welcome Book for Refugees (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Farsi

What you can do if you're at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Farsi

Managing COVID-19 at home fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Farsi

COVID-19 pre-vaccination screening questions (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Getting your COVID-19 vaccine webpage (CDC): English | Pashto | Dari

Get both doses of COVID-19 vaccine (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Why COVID-19 testing is important (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

What to expect during a COVID-19 test (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

How long to isolate if you have COVID-19 PSA (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Key times to physically distance PSA (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Chickenpox

Chickenpox vaccine fact sheet (Immunization Action Coalition): English | Dari | Pashto

Report your chickenpox symptoms (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Dental health

Take care of your teeth activity book (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Handwashing

Wash Your Hands (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

"Do Not Drink" warning to post at handwashing stations (CDC): English/Dari/Pashto

Use for washing your hands (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Wash You Hands poster (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Hepatitis

Hepatitis A - General Fact Sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Hepatitis B and a Healthy Baby presentation (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Hypothermia and frostbite

Avoid, spot, treat hypothermia and frostbite (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Influenza

How to stop the flu (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Symptoms of the flu (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Lice

Check for head lice fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Masking

Please wear a mask (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

How to clean and dry your cloth mask (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

How to wear a mask PSA (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Key times to wear a mask PSA (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Maternity

Breastfeeding is Important (Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services): English | Farsi

Breastfeeding Plan (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

Engorgement (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

Hand Expression (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

How to clean infant feeding items (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

How to prepare infant formula (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Pre and Postnatal Maternal Warning Signs (CDC): Dari | Pashto

Proper Storage and Handling of Breast Milk (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

Sore Nipples (Missouri DHSS): English | Farsi

Urgent maternal warning signs (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Medication

Picking up medications – scroll through right panel once hyperlink is opened to select from 15 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Burmese
  • Dari
  • English
  • French
  • Kirundi
  • Maay Maay
  • Mandarin
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese
  • Somali
  • Swahili

Measles, mumps, and Rubella

Report your symptoms of measles (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

MMR vaccine fact sheet (Immunization Action Coalition): English | Dari | Pashto

Mosquitoes and ticks

Mosquito bites can make you sick fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Mosquito bites are bad activity book (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Mosquito bites are bad coloring book (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Tick bites can make you sick fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Mumps

Mumps symptoms fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto | Urdu

Polio

Report your polio symptoms, multilingual (CDC): English / Dari / Pashto

Polio vaccine fact sheet (Immunization Action Coalition): English | Dari | Pashto

Respiratory diseases

How to stop the spread of germs (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Prevent Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Scabies

How to examine for scabies flyer (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Scabies fact sheet (CDC): English | Dari | Pashto

Tuberculosis

Active Tuberculosis Disease Fact Sheet, (P-42099): Patient focused fact sheet on active tuberculosis (link includes English, Hmong, Burmese, Spanish, Russian, Dari, Kirundi, and Ukrainian)

Latent Tuberculosis Infection Fact Sheet, (P-2099B): Patient focused fact sheet on latent tuberculosis infection (link includes English, Hmong, Burmese, Spanish, Russian, Dari, Kirundi, and Ukrainian.

Tuberculosis in Wisconsin one-page fact sheet, (P-02194) (link includes English, Hmong, Burmese, Spanish, Russian, Dari, Kirundi, and Ukrainian)

How Can I Prevent TB, (P-02504): Informative patient focused document about preventing TB (link includes English, Hmong, Burmese, Spanish, Russian, Dari, Kirundi, and Ukrainian)

TB fact sheet (CDC): English | Pashto | Dari

Q&A Tuberculosis (CDC): English | Pashto | Dari

SNTC "You Can Prevent Tuberculosis: A Patient Educational Handout" (SNTC): Dari/English | Pashto/English

Afghan Parolee Vaccination Status — A vaccination attestation website by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is where Afghan parolees can report their vaccinations. They can also get information on required vaccinations and screenings. (Dari and Pashto translations available.)

Benefits for Afghan Humanitarian Parolees—A document by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. It also outlines what they may be eligible for.

Eligible Noncitizen Update – Afghan Arrivals—Noncitizen update from the Federal Student Aid Office on Title IV, federal student aid.

Health Coverage Options for Afghan Evacuees — A document by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). It outlines eligibility and services for Afghan evacuees

Information for Afghan Nationals — A webpage by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It offers translated resources for Afghans. These include information sheets for Afghan parolees departing safe havens, immigration status, legal services, and vaccination status attestation

Know Your Rights (PDF) — Department of State pamphlet that lists individual's rights while working in the United States. Dari

Resettlement Services Continue after 90 Days — From the Administration for Children & Families. This information can be shared with clients who speak English, Dari, and Pashto. It explains the continuation of services beyond 90 days.

How you can help

Do you want to help Afghan arrivals? See the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website to learn more.

Who to contact with questions?

Last revised October 11, 2023