DENVER (KDVR) — Refugee families fleeing the emergency in Afghanistan have started arriving in Colorado.
Sources with the Colorado Department of Human Services confirm a few individuals have arrived, but they could not share a specific number Tuesday.
Refugees will go through one of three different resettlement agencies for services like housing, job placement and case management. They’ll also receive a health screening within the first month of arriving.
“We do a head to toe physical examination, screen them for normal issues that many people in the United States have,” said Janine Young, medical director at Denver Health Refugee Clinic.
Denver Health’s Refugee Clinic is one of five medical sites that partners with the state for refugee screenings.
Young says many of the refugees they screen from certain parts of the world have never been in a primary care setting. Afghan refugees arriving through the Special Immigrant Visa program have typically had better access to health care through their work with the U.S. Government.
Obtaining an SIV involves filing a petition and submitting documents, like a passport as well as proof of a background check, followed by a formal application and interview process.
Young says seeing refugees early in their resettlement process allows them to set a groundwork for regular medical care.
“Trying to explain this concept of not just going to the doctor or the emergency room if you’re sick, but going to get regular care to prevent going to the emergency room — I think it is challenging concept if that’s not what you’re used to,” Young said.