+880 1834 61 00 28 ipdi.helo@gmail.com

Refugee and migrant health

Today there are some 1 billion migrants globally, about 1 in 8 of the global population. These include 281 million international migrants and 82.4 million forcibly displaced (48 million internally displaced, 26.4 million refugees, 4.1 million asylum seekers)(1). UNHCR estimates there are many millions of stateless people globally.

The experience of migration is a key determinant of health and well-being. Refugees and migrants remain among the most vulnerable members of society faced often with xenophobia; discrimination; poor living, housing, and working conditions; and inadequate access to health services, despite frequently occurring physical and mental health problems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed additional challenges both in terms of increased risk of infection and death experienced by refugees and migrants and has highlighted existing inequities in access to and utilization of health services. Refugees and migrants have also suffered the negative economic impact of lockdown and travel restrictions.

Refugees and migrants need to be in good health to protect both themselves and host populations. They have the human right to health, and countries have an obligation to provide refugee and migrant sensitive health care services.

In 2020 WHO established the Health and Migration Programme (PHM) to provide global leadership in health and migration issues in the context of WHO’s own Global action plan: promoting the health of refugees and migrants 2019–23.

Impact: Refugees and migrants often come from communities affected by war, conflict or economic crisis, with vulnerabilities related to the condition of their journeys such as inadequate access to food and water, sanitation and other basic services. They are at risk of communicable diseases, accidental injuries, hypothermia, burns, unwanted pregnancy and delivery-related complications, and various noncommunicable diseases. Moreover, refugees and migrants are at risk of poor mental health outcomes. Refugee and migrant health are also strongly related to the social determinants of health in host communities (e.g., employment, income, education and housing).

To promote public health protection for them and the host populations, refugees and migrants should have equitable access to quality health services, free of discrimination, exclusion and stigma. In addition, appropriate multisectoral public policy responses are required to address the social determinants.

Refugees and migrants also play a key employment role in the provision of health and social services, and access to health services for the populations recognizes this contribution and contributes to social well-being and cohesion.

The WHO Health and Migration Programme (PHM) works with countries to promote the human right to health and access to quality and culturally appropriate health services, with adequate social and financial protection.

Source: https://www.who.int/health-topics/refugee-and-migrant-health#tab=tab_1

© IPDI Foundation. All Rights Reserved. Developed by Klay Technologies