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We continue with Part Three of our blog series (go back to Part One, go to Part Two), in which RefugePoint Resettlement Experts, who work across Africa to help refugees through the process resettlement, tell stories about how the recent executive order impacts the refugees whom they work with.

Today’s story chronicles a refugee family from Somalia who fled to Kenya, as told by one of our Resettlement Experts:

“I interviewed several families whom will now be blocked from entry to the United States. I interviewed a family headed by a Somali woman in her 60’s, her son, and several nieces and nephews whom had fled with her from Somalia. 

The female head of the household, who was the main applicant had been diagnosed with multiple severe medical issues. Within the camp, this woman relied on each of her nieces and nephews to feed and bathe her, to cook and clean, to accompany/carry her to the hospital, particularly when she fell unconscious, and to collect her medications. 

However, in the camp, she did not have access to sufficient medications or treatment. On the day of our interview, she struggled to even reach the office as two of her nephews carried her. We had received medical referrals declaring that treatment was not accessible for her within Kenya as a refugee.  However, such medical referrals were out of date, making emergency submission to the United States unlikely without an updated medical examination. 

Despite consistent requests, we were unable to attain an urgent and updated medical exam through the local medical staff. As such, I was advised to send the case on an urgent needs basis, so that the woman may attain medical attention within the shortest time possible. I met with this woman again at a later date, and it was quite clear that her condition had worsened.”

In urgent medical cases, like this one, where treatment is not available in the country of first asylum, resettlement can mean the difference between life and death. The recent executive order makes it less likely that people in need of urgent resettlement for medical reasons will be able to access the medical care that they need to survive. 

Learn more about the executive order and how it impacts refugees and RefugePoint here.