A new health clinic specifically for refugees has opened in Toronto.
The Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, a temporary shelter for new immigrants at 43 Christie St. just north of Bloor Street West, now has a small clinic to connect refugees with doctors.
Dr. Meb Rashid, one of physicians seeing new patients in the centre's examination room, said many refugees suffer from untreated diseases that aren't common in Canada like tuberculosis and malaria, Some, he said, are dealing with psychological problems at the same time.
"People have often endured unimaginable trauma," Rashid said.
"People have lost family, people who are estranged from their family, don't know the condition of their children or partners overseas."
On Friday Rashid saw Zione Tesfazgi, a refugee who said she fled Eritrea in northeast Africa due to religious persecution for being a Pentecostal Christian.
Tesfazgi, a mother of two who attended the clinic with her husband, is pregnant and dealing with stomach pain.
"I have lot of acid in my stomach, so I have a difficult time," she said.
Refugees like Tesfazgi often have a difficult time finding a doctor, said Linda Moorcroft, the centre's executive director.
"Some of our families have moved out our outreach program is trying to assist them," Moorcroft said.
"They've called up to 75 doctors on certain days just trying to find a local doctor who will see a new family."
The difficulty in finding a doctor is compounded by the problem that most refugees are covered by federal health plans and don't have an Ontario Health Insurance Plan card.
The clinic is open two days a week.