According to the Fort Wayne (IN) News-Sentinel today, the city and especially its Health Department are bracing for a wave of Burmese refugees. 200 are scheduled to arrive this fall and 800 are planned for 2008. Catholic Charities and Church World Services are the primary volags involved.
Catholic Charities cannot turn down refugees, and must accept however many the State Department says it is sending.
McMahan said about 50 percent of refugees arrive with TB infection and must be tested, treated and tracked. The TB clinic is already seeing a surge in patients this year, and they are sicker, she said, adding more nurses are needed now, even without the additional refugees.
Refugees receive Medicaid benefits for eight months, which is why billing Medicaid will help the department meet the economic challenges. Providing immunizations to kids alone could be cost-prohibitive. For example, in six years, the cost to fully immunize a child by age 2 has risen from $240 to $1,100, McMahan said.
This year so far, 58 percent of Allen County’s active TB cases are among foreign-born individuals, compared to 22 percent in 2004.
This is all very interesting news on the eve of the Refugee Resettlement forum scheduled for Hagerstown, MD. Church World Services and its subcontractor Virginia Council of Churches hope to convince us that Burmese refugees would bring lots of good things to our rural county when they meet with the community tomorrow night.