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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-49

Systematically addressing the health concerns of migrants universally

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

Date of Web Publication24-Jun-2016

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

DOI: 10.4103/2350-0298.184684

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Systematically addressing the health concerns of migrants universally. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2016;3:48-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Systematically addressing the health concerns of migrants universally. Int J Adv Med Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 19];3:48-9. Available from: https://www.ijamhrjournal.org/text.asp?2016/3/1/48/184684


Globally, the modern world has witnessed the migration of millions of people either within their native country or even to different nations because of globalization, medical tourism, national/international travel, education/job opportunities, human trafficking, civil wars, outbreak of infectious diseases, etc.[1] These migrants might be a potential source of infection for a specific disease (which is prevalent in their native country) and can introduce a new or previously eradicated disease into their new destination.[2]

Although health concerns of refugees/migrants are very much similar to the rest of the population, very often they are exposed to accidental injuries, burns, cardiovascular events, sexually transmitted infections, and chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).[3],[4],[5] The NCDs mainly occur because of the interruption of care, resulting either due to lack of access to the health systems or because of the discontinuation of the treatment.[3] However, female migrants have to cope with specific challenges, including exposure to different types of violence.[3] Similarly, children are quite vulnerable to respiratory infections/diarrheal diseases owing to the lack of personal hygiene or exposure to substandard environmental conditions.[3]

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend compulsory screening of refugee and migrant populations for diseases as it might create anxiety among not only the migrants (viz. some of the high-risk patients might never report for health checkups due to the fear of the consequences) but even the entire community and is also not cost-effective.[3] However, it strongly advocates that health services should be made accessible to all those migrants who intend to avail them, irrespective of the gender, age, religion, nationality, race, or nature of the disease.[1],[3] The WHO has even supported policies to extend health care services regardless of migrants' legal status as prompt access to health care is beneficial to both migrants and the receiving country.[1],[2],[3] At the same time, it is crucial that the results of screening should never be used to eject a refugee/migrant from a specific nation.[1],[3]

Furthermore, triage should be envisaged at points of entry, so that health problems among migrants can be ascertained at the earliest.[2],[3] This should be supported by proper diagnostic and therapeutic services to promptly cure the patient and discourage any risk of further transmission of the disease.[1],[2] Another important concern is to prevent the transmission of the vaccine-preventable diseases from the migrants to their contacts.[2],[3] In fact, the European region has worked out a plan to ensure equitable access to vaccines and the related information for all the migrants by the year 2020.[3]

In addition, interventions such as developing migrant-sensitive health policies; strengthening of the health systems to ensure equitable access to services; optimizing use of health establishments/resources in nations with large number of migrant populations; developing information systems to evaluate health status of migrants; utilizing different modes of communication to share information on best practices; sensitizing health professionals about the specific health needs of the migrants; and encouraging international cooperation can play a significant role in addressing the health needs of the migrants.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, migrants and refugees represent an extremely vulnerable section of the community, which is often exposed to different challenges and health risks. Thus, it is high time that all the concerned stakeholders should work together to meet the complex health needs of the migrant population in accordance with the WHO recommendations.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. International Travel and Health. Geneva: WHO Press; 2010. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Shishehgar S, Gholizadeh L, DiGiacomo M, Davidson PM. The impact of migration on the health status of Iranians: An integrative literature review. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 2015;15:20.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Frequently Asked Questions on Migration and Health; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/features/qa/88/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Sep 08].  Back to cited text no. 3
McGrath N, Eaton JW, Newell ML, Hosegood V. Migration, sexual behaviour, and HIV risk: A general population cohort in rural South Africa. Lancet HIV 2015;2:e252-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kesteman T, Lapostolle A, Costagliola D, Massari V, Chauvin P. Impact of migration origin on individual protection strategies against sexual transmission of HIV in Paris metropolitan area, SIRS cohort study, France. BMC Public Health 2015;15:807.  Back to cited text no. 5


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