For WHO, European countries need to be more considerate of the migrant populations residing on their land. There is an urgent need to bridge the “differences in access to primary care” of migrants, says the organization.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on 21 January called for better access for migrants to care services that it believes should be provided by European countries. “The most important thing is access to health services. To improve health, the differences in access to primary care [migrants] must be bridged, “summarized Santino Severoni, head of the WHO’s European Migration and Health program.Read also
For the organization, the Old Continent covers 53 countries. Migrants – including refugees – would account for 90.7 million out of the 920 million inhabitants that this area covers, that is to say nearly 10% of the population. In these countries as disparate as Russia and Andorra, Germany and Turkmenistan, the share of migrants differs greatly: they represent 45% of the population in Malta and less than 2% in Albania.
Populations and some governments emotionally react to newcomers and health because of lack of informationLoading...
WHO also points to the disparity of health systems applicable to migrants. In 15 countries, such as Austria, Turkey or the United Kingdom, asylum seekers have access to the same care as the local population, while they are only entitled to emergency care in Germany. or in Hungary.
Migrants would tend to develop chronic diseases when they arrive in Europe
“People and some governments react emotionally to the issue of newcomers and health, because of the lack of information,” said Severoni. Regarding the risk of disease transmission between migrants and the local population, he considers it “very weak”. Conversely, he points out, a significant proportion of HIV-positive migrants have contracted the disease after their arrival in Europe.Read also
In addition, newcomers would tend to develop more chronic diseases because of changes in their lifestyle (less physical activity, poor nutrition) and the conditions of poverty in which some of them live.
Despite variations across groups and methods of measurement, refugees and migrants tend to suffer more from depression and anxiety than the population in their host country, notes WHO.
Several risk factors would be involved, including the predominance of post-traumatic stress disorder among migrants who have gone through very distressing situations, the length of time they have been processing asylum applications and unfavorable socio-economic conditions (inactivity, poverty, isolation ).