Guidance

Chile: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Chile 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.

Determine any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening. Chile has a low 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.

Be advised that there is a risk of typhoid infection in Chile.

Be alert for possible cases of Chagas disease and refer as appropriate, because there is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Chile.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

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

Tuberculosis (TB)

There is a low incidence of TB in Chile (<40 cases per 100,000), so:

  • routine screening is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

Take a sexual history, and:

  • screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
  • test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia

Chile has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so

  • offer and recommend an HIV test if the patient:
    • falls into a high risk group
    • is newly registering in a high prevalence area
  • be advised that national guidelines do not recommend routine consideration of HIV testing of infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK

Hepatitis B

Chile has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • 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

Chile has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C.

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.

Typhoid

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

  • ensure that travellers to Chile 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 Chile

Chagas disease

There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Chile, so:

  • be alert for possible cases
  • refer as appropriate

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Chile
Children per woman¹ 2 2
Use of contraception² 82% 60.7%

¹lifetime average ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a low risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence is 5 to 20%), and a moderate risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), in Chile, so:

  • be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly for women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

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 may be a risk of vitamin A deficiency in Chile.

Iodine

People from Chile may be at risk of adverse health consequences due to excessive intake of iodine.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

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

Culture, politics and history

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

Languages

Language Population (%)¹
Spanish 99.5
English 10.2
Other 2.3
Indigenous² 1
Unspecified 0.2

¹2012 est; total is more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census ²includes Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua and Rapa Nui

Source: The World Factbook.

Religions

Religion Population (%)¹
Roman Catholic 66.7
Evangelical or Protestant 16.4
None 11.5
Other 3.4
Unspecified 1.1
Jehovah’s Witnesses 1

¹2012 est.

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were almost 7,000 people from Chile living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2014.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 7 April 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated advice on testing for hep B, based on current prevalence in Chile.
  2. First published.