10 Facts About Refugees from Sao Tome and Principe
A Brief History

The islands of Sao Tome and Principe are some of the most remote and beautiful islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The island has a reputation of having a tropical climate usually associated with islands located in the South Pacific.

In recent history, Sao Tome and Principe struggled with government corruption and attempts at a coup d’etat of the government. February 12, 2009 marked the first attempt of a coup d’etat of the government. Although the plotters of the coup were imprisoned, many citizens of the nation still fear the potential for another political uprising. This fact has led to an increase of residents leaving the country which increased the number of refugees from Sao Tome and Principe.

Below are ten facts about refugees from Sao Tome and Principe.

  1. Within refugee camps, women refugees from Sao Tome and Principe deal with daily struggles of misogyny. This misogyny has led to many women believing that they should have fewer rights than men. In fact, seven percent of women who are refugees from Sao Tome and Principe think a husband is justified in beating his wife when she argues with him, and 6.4 percent believe men have the right to beat women when they burn food they are cooking.
  2. Women also deal with misogyny by refusing to accept health care without a male bringing them to the hospital. Women refugees from Sao Tome and Principe have a 51.8 percent chance of not accessing health care without having a man take them to the doctors.
  3. Sexual contact begins early for women who are refugees from Sao Tome and Principe. The median age for women aged between 25-49 for their first sexual contact was only 17.1 years old on average.
  4. Condom use is not common for refugees from Sao Tome and Principe, and women between the ages of 15-24 have a 24.3 chance of using a condom regularly.
  5. Lack of condom use has led to many children being born refugees from Sao Tome and Principe. The number of infant deaths has risen in these camps to an average of 219 deaths.
  6. For the children that make it past birth, they continue to have relatively short lives — last year, 297 refugee children from Sao Tome and Principe died due to numerous causes.
  7. Refugee camps are dangerous for refugees from Sao Tome and Principe and the rate of dying from an injury has increased to 10.5 percent.
  8. The dangers of living in a refugee camp may be immense, but refugee camp health centers have ensured that vaccinations are commonplace. Child refugees from Sao Tome and Principe have a vaccination rate for BCG, DPT and measles at 97.7 percent, 96 percent and 95.2 percent accordingly.
  9. Although refugees from Sao Tome and Principe receive vaccinations, many continue to die from disease. Last year 19 migrants died from malaria.
  10. On top of death from disease, refugees from Sao Tome and Principe continue to die from tobacco and alcohol use. The smoking prevalence for women rests currently at 1.51 percent and 9.27 percent for males. The total alcohol consumption per capita (measured in liters) was measured last year to be 6.8 liters for migrants over the age of 15.

The Takeaway

Even though Sao Tome and Principe possess all the natural resources it could even need and the support from the United Nations and NGOs, the nation still suffers from its citizens leaving to become migrants. Refugees from Sao Tome and Principe suffer from misogyny, death by injury, disease and substance abuse.

However, understanding these facts can allow groups focused on helping these people create solutions for the future. Although the present may be grim for refugees from Sao Tome and Principe, their future continues to look bright.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr