Health on the Move

With more than 68.5 million people forcibly displaced from their homes and 258 million international migrants, there’s an obvious question: How can their health be ensured?

Health ministers, WHO officials, migration experts and others weighed in on solutions at a Tuesday #WHA72 side event. Their common theme: There’s no universal health coverage (the theme of this year’s World Health Assembly) unless the health of refugees, migrants and internally displaced people have access to quality care.

“Not addressing migrant health is a recipe for disaster,” said Jacqueline Weekers, director of the Migration Health division of the International Organization for Migration. “Migrants face stigma and discrimination. Many migrants are working and living in conditions of exploitation.” 

Speakers explored issues of technology (how social media usage in Turkey helped uncover surprising migratory patterns) and financing (whether a new funding mechanism modeled on the Global Fund might pay for migrant health in lower and middle income countries).—BWS

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