Geneva, 21 July 2022 (TDI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched its first report on the health of refugees and migrants around the world. Many refugees and migrants in vulnerable situations experience poorer health outcomes compared to their host communities.

WHO World report on the health of refugees and migrants shows that it is worse for those living in and working in poor conditions. Unfortunately, this acts as an obstacle to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Today there are some one billion migrants globally, about one in eight people. The experience of migration is a key determinant of health and wellbeing, and refugees and migrants……”

He adds, “This report is the first to offer a global review of refugee and migrant health; it calls for urgent and collective action to ensure they can access health care services that are sensitive to their needs. It also illustrates the pressing need to address the root causes of ill health and to radically reorient health systems to respond to a world increasingly in motion”.

 Also read: UNHCR’s Global Compact for refugees 

The global report on Refugees

According to the report, refugees and migrants do not naturally have poorer health than host populations. However, their health is affected by many factors. These factors include education, income, housing, and access to services, compounded by linguistic, cultural, legal, and other barriers.

According to the report, the experiences of migration and displacement play an important role in a person’s health and wellbeing. For example, a recent meta-analysis of over 17 million participants from 16 countries. These countries including WHO regions show that migrant workers hardly use health services. It also shows that they are more likely to have an occupational injury.

It is also evident that 169 million migrant workers are involved in dirty, dangerous, and demanding jobs. This, therefore, means that they have greater risks of experiencing occupational accidents, injuries, and work-related health problems.

The report also shows inconsistencies in the data and health information systems concerning the health of refugees and migrants. Because of this, it is difficult to determine and assess their progress toward the health-related SDGs.

Santino Severoni, WHO’s Health and Migration Programme Director said that the present health systems need reorientation on the integration and inclusion of refugees and migrants. She said, “Health does not begin or end at a country’s border.  Migration status should therefore not be a discriminatory factor but a policy driver on which to build and strengthen healthcare and social and financial protection”.

The reports have shown the significant contributions of refugees and migrants in the COVID-19 frontline response. Migrants contributed to countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Most of the doctors and nurses in these countries are foreign.

Refugees and migrants face greater risks
Refugees and migrants face greater health risks