Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Protecting the health of Migrants

Migrants and refugees  who travel to countries in Europe and elsewhere pose little health for their host countries. In fact the opposite is true.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday revealed that refugees are likely to be in good overall health when they leave their home countries, but are put at risk for infectious and chronic diseases in their new homes—where quality and affordable healthcare is often unavailable to them.  They arrive in countries in which they're subject to a new form of inequality—where some of the world's strongest healthcare is offered to the local population but is often kept out of reach for newcomers. 

Living in conditions of poverty for long periods of time, becoming less physically active, and consuming less healthy food than that which was available to them in their home countries all puts migrants at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer after they've arrived in their host countries, according to WHO.WHO also reported that a "significant proportion" of refugees who are HIV+ became infected with the virus after entering their new countries, that migrants are far more likely to suffer work-related injuries than non-migrant workers, and that depression and anxiety is prevalent in newly-arrived refugee and migrant communities.

The organization said, "despite the widespread assumption to the contrary, there is only a very low risk of refugees and migrants transmitting communicable diseases to their host population."

"As migrants and refugees become more vulnerable than the host population to the risk of developing both noncommunicable and communicable diseases, it is necessary that they receive timely access to quality health services, as everyone else," said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the organization's regional director for Europe. "This is the best way to save lives and cut treatment costs, as well as protect the health of the resident citizens."


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