WHO Issues Global Report on Health Care for Migrants and Refugees 

March 3, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
WHO Issues Global Report on Health Care for Migrants and Refugees 

This week the World Health Organization held a webinar to discuss the launch of its second report on the Global Evidence Review on Health and Migration, which examines access to health care for migrants and refugees under current health policies and existing systems.

“People need a good health system with services that are accessible, affordable, and integrate prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for entities and mental health. This must also include regular migrants, displaced persons, and refugees that otherwise may not have access to the local health facilities,” said Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith,  permanent representative of Norway to the United Nations Office at Geneva, during the webinar. 

The report stresses that non-communicable diseases, like cancer or cardiovascular disease, have risk factors that are exacerbated by social determinants of health — including wrong doings in the immigration process.

Migrants and refugees often leave their homes in search of a better life, but often face risks to their health and well being, including exposure to economic inequalities, social exclusion and discrimination.

In 2021, more than 90 million international migrants moved from low and middle income countries, making up 32% in international migration. Data also shows that even before migration, the risk of a non-communicable disease is 85% higher in lower and middle income countries. 

The situation in Ukraine is likely to contribute to a new wave of migration according to discussion during the webinar, implying that more evidence is needed now than ever to inform policy actions that countries can take to better assess prevention services and poor health outcomes which migrants face. 

The review also examines the challenges which workers face in ensuring that refugees and migrants are included in efforts to provide a continuum of care. 

The first report in this series was launched in June 2021 and includes proposed policy considerations. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

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