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 Table of Contents  
COMMENTARY
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 240-241

Strengthening the health care delivery system to respond to the health needs of the migrant population: European nations' perspective


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication9-Jun-2016

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.183760

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  Abstract 

In the modern era of globalization, a remarkable increase in the number of people who are migrating every year has been reported. In the recent couple of years, the European region is facing an ever-rising challenge of meeting with the health needs of thousands of migrants and refugees, in a timely and effective manner. The migrants and refugees remain a difficult population sub-group to handle for the local program managers, owing to the existence of multiple challenges or barriers. In order to improve the quality of life of migrants, there is an enormous need for health system preparedness, careful planning, capacity building, comprehensive epidemiological data, and training of health professionals. To conclude, as migrants and refugees represent a vulnerable section of society, none of the planned interventions can provide sustainable results unless strengthening of the primary health care and consideration of the socio-cultural beliefs of the migrants are taken into account in the planned interventions.

Keywords: European region, migrant, vaccine preventable diseases


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening the health care delivery system to respond to the health needs of the migrant population: European nations' perspective. CHRISMED J Health Res 2016;3:240-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening the health care delivery system to respond to the health needs of the migrant population: European nations' perspective. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Jan 19];3:240-1. Available from: http://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2016/3/3/240/183760


  Introduction Top


In the modern era of globalization, amidst the rise in International Travel and Medical Tourism, civil wars, and public health concerns of human trafficking or natural/man-made disasters, a remarkable increase in the number of people migrating each year has been reported. [1] In the recent couple of years, the European region is facing an ever-rising challenge of meeting with the health needs of thousands of migrants and refugees. [2] In fact, the estimates for the current year suggest that almost 2 million migrants have taken shelter in Turkey, while in excess of 0.7 million have migrated to other nations of the European region. [2]


  Migrants and Refugees: A Vulnerable Population Subgroup Top


The migrants and refugees remain a difficult population subgroup to handle for the local program managers, owing to the existence of multiple challenges or barriers such as level of awareness about the existing health services, illiteracy, poor socioeconomic status, language constraints, myths and misconceptions about illnesses or health system, environment concerns (viz., housing, water supply, sanitation, etc.,), potential risk of introduction of various subclinical/manifested infectious diseases in their newer adopted home, physical or psychosocial impact of fleeing from their homes and the long journey, questionable immunization status, access to health care services, higher user fee, and lack of empathy from the health provider perspective (especially for migrants). [1],[3],[4]


  Existing status Top


Even though the stakeholders have agreed that as a whole the European region is well-equipped to diagnose and manage common infectious and lifestyle diseases of the migrants, multiple things have to be improved on so that all the constituent nations are adequately prepared to respond to the additional needs on their own. [2] At the same time, the key factor is that at no stage the quality of health care standards for the resident population is compromised by any means. [2],[4]


  Suggested recommendations Top


In order to improve the quality of life of migrants, there is an enormous need for health system preparedness, careful planning, capacity building, comprehensive epidemiological data, and training of health professionals to respond to the varying needs of the migrants by adhering to the principles of equity and human rights. [1],[2],[3],[5] At the same time, the nations should strengthen their routine immunization activities and infection prevention and control measures as there is a potential risk of increase in transmission of the vaccine preventable diseases (viz., measles, rubella, pertussis, etc.,), predominantly because of the myths about vaccines, ignorance, no awareness about the benefits of vaccines, sociocultural beliefs, absence of health insurance, or because they are not accessing the services of health system. [6] Thus, the rapid influx of large numbers of unvaccinated children would interfere with the herd immunity and will significantly increase the existing immunity gap. [6]

Therefore, it has been advocated that all the nations in the European region should ensure implementation of routine immunization and supplementary immunization activities (if needed), without any unnecessary delay, to neutralize the risk of any potential outbreak of infectious disease among the migrant population. [2],[6] Further, the concerned stakeholders should aim to accomplish equitable access to essential health services in a sustainable manner. [5] In addition, special attention should be given to address the health interests of the health workers as they are the most crucial members of the health team. [6]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, as migrants and refugees represent a vulnerable section of society, there is a great need to meet their health care needs through a comprehensive approach. However, none of the planned interventions can provide sustainable results unless strengthening of the primary health care and consideration of the sociocultural beliefs of the migrants are taken into account in the planned interventions.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Nørredam M. Migration and health: Exploring the role of migrant status through register-based studies. Dan Med J 2015;62:B5068.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. European Health Decision-Makers Meet for High-Level Discussion on Refugee and Migrant Health; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 25].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Tesfaye HT, Day J. Health visitors′ perceptions of barriers to health and wellbeing in European migrant families. Community Pract 2015;88:22-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
de Waure C, Bruno S, Furia G, Di Sciullo L, Carovillano S, Specchia ML, et al. Health inequalities: An analysis of hospitalizations with respect to migrant status, gender and geographical area. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 2015;15:2.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Low WY, Tong WT, Binns C. Migrant workers in Asia Pacific and their rights to health. Asia Pac J Public Health 2015;27:584-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Health Organization. WHO-UNHCR-UNICEF Joint Statement on General Principles of Vaccination of Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Migrants in the WHO European Region; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 25].  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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Abstract
Introduction
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Conclusion
Migrants and Ref...
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