January 12, 2016 2:28 am

East Vancouver clinic offers health care for refugees

WATCH: A specialized clinic in East Vancouver is providing health care to hundreds of government-sponsored refugees, including Syrians. Linda Aylesworth explains how the 'Bridge Clinic' is caring for new immigrants, until family doctors are found.

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When government-sponsored Syrian refugees first arrive in B.C., Vancouver Coastal Health’s Bridge Clinic introduces them to the Canadian health care system.

Vaccines are offered, general checkups are given and prescriptions are filled.

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For nearly 20 years, refugees from all over the world have used the service. Usually they go the Bridge Clinic offices in East Vancouver, but so many Syrian refugees are coming to the city, clinic doctors and nurses have taken their services to places like Welcome House in downtown Vancouver where they can attend to many families in one location.

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“Normally we see 800 to 900 government-assisted refugees a year but we are going to see 2,000 from mid-December to February and another 1,800 between March and December so the volumes have increased,” Dr. Althea Hayden said.

They say dealing with the influx is not a problem.

The Bridge Clinic is available to refugees in Metro Vancouver for one year. By then they will have been matched up with a physician in the community where they eventually settle.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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