WHO Report Outlines Health Status of Refugees and Migrants 

July 20, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
WHO Report Outlines Health Status of Refugees and Migrants 
Children are seen at the Homestead shelter for migrant children in Homestead, Fla., on June 23, 2018. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)

The World Health Organization issued guidance on July 20 about good practices to protect the health of refugees and migrants.

The nearly 350-page report includes more than 82,000 documents along with household surveys and analyses from global experts.

The report finds that during the past decade, the number of migrants worldwide almost doubled, with a total of 281 million people on the move worldwide since 2020, and the number continues to rise.

Refugees and certain groups of migrants, such as low-skilled migrant workers, face poorer health outcomes than people in host countries.

More than 47,200 people died on migration journeys worldwide from 2014 to 2021 and over 20,000 disappeared. Of those who die, few are identified, leaving their families in perpetual uncertainty about their fate, according to the report. 

Health services in all WHO regions were strained by the impact of COVID-19, conflicts and other disasters.

Migrant women and girls were also more vulnerable to child marriage and human trafficking due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and their inability to earn a livelihood.

The report finds that the number of migrant doctors employed by health systems within WHO countries has risen in the past two decades. Thirty percent of foreign-born doctors come from lower-middle income countries and 3%-4% from low-income countries. 

The report provides a global action plan for health and migration that includes actively including refugees and migrants within social protection systems, and establishing regular assessments to analyze whether the health system is meeting the needs of refugees and migrants. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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