For What Illnesses Do Asylum Seekers and Undocumented Migrant Workers in Israel Seek Healthcare? An Analysis of Medical Visits at a Large Urgent Care Clinic for the Uninsured in Tel Aviv Academic Article uri icon


  • In 2017, there were nearly 80,000 asylum seekers and undocumented migrant workers in Israel, most of whom did not have health insurance. We evaluated trends in medical visits of asylum seekers and undocumented migrant workers who presented to Terem Refugee Clinic (TRC), a large clinic in Tel Aviv available only to uninsured residents of Israel. Data were collected from electronic medical records at TRC from 2013–2017. Diagnoses were grouped into categories using ICD-10-equivalent diagnosis codes. We used a chi-squared test for trends to test the significance of trends 2013 to 2017. There were 99,569 medical visits from 2013 to 2017 at TRC. Visits were lowest in 2013 (11,112), and relatively stable from 2014–2017 (range: 19,712–23,172). Most visits were among adults aged 18–35 (41.2%) and children 50. The percentage of infectious disease diagnoses decreased over the study period, from 9.4% of all diagnoses in adults in 2014 to 5.2% in 2017, and from 32.0% of all diagnoses in children in 2013 to 19.4% in 2017. The annual percentage of respiratory diagnoses in children and adults 18–35 years of age, musculoskeletal in all adults, and digestive in adults except women ≥35 years old increased. Over time, asylum seekers and undocumented migrant workers visited TRC with fewer infectious diseases diagnoses overall but more respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and more musculoskeletal diseases.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019