Guidance

Benin: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Benin for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Screen all new entrants (including children) from this country for tuberculosis (TB).

There is a high burden of Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Benin.

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Benin, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice

Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived. Benin has a high prevalence.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

There is a high risk of malaria in Benin.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Benin.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis

The incidence of TB in Benin is high (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), and there is also a high burden of MDR-TB, so:

  • screen all new entrants, including children, for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • seek advice, if you are a local TB service, from the MDR-TB Clinical Advice Service before treating patients from Benin for TB
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Benin (>1%), so:

Although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Benin may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services

Hepatitis B

Benin has a high prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Benin has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in Benin, due to P. falciparum and P. ovale, so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Benin, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Benin are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Benin

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Benin, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Benin
Number of children per woman¹ 2 6
Use of contraception² 82% 18.6%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Healthcare practitioners are advised that FGM has regularly been documented in Benin.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Benin.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Benin.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Benin.

Languages

The main languages used in Benin are:

  • French (official)
  • Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south)
  • Tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)

Source: The World Factbook.

Religions

Religion Population (%)
Catholic 27.1
Muslim 24.4
Vodoun 17.3
Protestant¹ 10.4
Other Christian 5.3
Other 15.5

¹Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were almost 600 people from Benin living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics.

Published 31 July 2014