Migrants, Refugees, and Health Webinar

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The Migrants, Refugees, and Health Webinar organized by WFPHA Working Group on Health in Emergencies and Disaster was a huge success! Multiple speakers including three members of the Working Group along with invited speaker from the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), The Lancet Commission on Migration and Health and EchoHealth Alliance discussed the importance of refugee and migrant health, the challenges to implement international guidelines to promote refugee and migrant health, how environmental changes can lead to forced migration and to climate refugees, and what actions need to be taken in the future to ensure access to health for migrants and refugees.

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Migration has become a complex social and political issue, with one billion people on the move or having moved in 2018, Majority of which occurs within low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The numbers of refugees and of people displaced by war and conflict, natural disasters, and climate change are at the highest levels ever recorded: 22 million and 40 million, respectively (IOM, 2017). On 10 December 2018, over 160 countries adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It is the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.

The aims of the webinar were to:

  • Introduce the Global Compact for Migration, highlight the links between Migration and Development, and focus on the issue of the health of migrants and refugees
  • Assess the major challenges to implement the Global Compact and the key role international and professional organizations, such as Public Health Associations, can play to inform solutions for access to health for migrants and refugees
  • Facilitate a dialogue to advance understanding and capabilities to tackle health challenges faced by migrants and refugees by leveraging the power of community and professional organizations.

About 100 people attended the webinar! If you missed the webinar or would like to listen again, a recording can be found here, all you have to do is register and the recording will start playing. In addition, all slides can be accessed here and key documents referenced in the webinar can be found at the bottom of this page

We would like to acknowledge and thank the Moderator of the Webinar : Chadia Wannous and all speakers for their valuable contribution: Jacqueline Weekers, Alejandro Gil-Salmeron, Glenn Laverack, Catherine Machalaba, and Ibrahim Abu-Bakr (names are linked to their slides).

At the conclusion of the webinar, a discussion was held on the important role of public health professional associations in advocating for migration health and in providing the evidence-base and the science for the implementation of the Global Compact.

The webinar was successful in highlighting the major challenges faced today regarding migrant health, presenting key research findings on addressing health inequalities and integration of vulnerable immigrant population, the challenge of promoting the health of refugees and migrants in Europe, and environmental degradation, land use change and climate change impact on migration health and underlines the importance of risk reduction and preparedness measures, including early warning to ensure healthcare access to migrants, and increase the resilience of people who are particularly vulnerable.

Highlights from the event:

The webinar began with the introduction of Chadia Wannous, Chair of the WFPHA Working Group on Health in Emergencies and Disaster. She outlined how the Working Group aims to Advocate for, and support, cross-sectoral and transboundary collaboration for all hazards and the impact of climate change on health and well-being, raise awareness about public health issues in emergencies and disasters, aadvocate for the health and protection of population and health care workers during emergencies and promote quality health care for migrants and host communities.

She highlighted key migration, refugees and forced displacement trends, and importance of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.

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Jacqueline Weekers

Jacqueline Weekers, Director, Migration Health Division, International Organization for Migration (IOM), presented a summary of the Global Compact and next steps for implementation and for the health component of the Compact. She discussed the WHO framework of priorities and guidelines for promoting health for refugees and migrants and the challenges in mainstreaming migrant health.           

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Alejandro Gil- Salmerón

Alejandro Gil- Salmerón, researcher at the Polibienestar Research Institute (University of Valencia) presented an integrated approach on healthcare access of immigrants. He presented the EU project “MigHealthCare” implemented by a consortium of universities, national authroities and NGOs in 10 EU countries and discussed a qualitative research study done at the Polibienestar Research Institute using a thematic analysis to determine factors influencing healthcare access of immigration at different levels based on the Ecological Model and actions needed to address these factors. 

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Glenn Laverack

Glenn Laverack, a visiting Professor in Health Promotion at Leeds Beckett University, presented the challenges of promoting health of refugees and migrants in Europe and the key policy options to address them. He stressed that Health promotion for refugee and migrant health has not been developed as a field of expertise, and much of the present experience only reflects what we already know and the importance of engaging with community-based organizations and using culturally appropriate methods and messages.

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Catherina Machalaba

Catherine Machalaba, a policy advisor and research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, presented climate risks, ecosystem degradation and forced migration issues. She highlighted how climate change is a driver of movement, how changes in land use and deterioration of ecohealth systems can lead to negative health outcomes, and the shared drivers of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation can lead to disease emergence. She highlighted the importance of the One Health approach as a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary to prevention, preparedness and risk reduction.

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Ibrahim Abu-Bakr

Ibrahim Abu-Bakr, Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health and Chair of the Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, presented a summary of the Commissions’ report published online on December 5, 2018 and document the devastating impacts of forced migration and the overall benefits to the health of individuals and populations that migration generates. It also lays out a research agenda to better ensure the health of migrants.

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Key Documents Referenced in the Webinar:

The Global Compact for Migration Intergovernmental Conference on the Global Compact for Migration.

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2018. Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_73_195.pdf

United Nations General Assembly, New York, NY; 2019Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Part II: global compact on refugees. United Nations General Assembly, New York, NY; 2018.

https://www.unhcr.org/excom/unhcrannual/5ba3a5d44/reportunited-nations-high-commissioner-refugees-part-ii-globalcompact.Html

The Lancet Commission report on Migration and Health

https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/migration-health

Health Priorities in A Changing Climate. Book Chapter in Climate Information for Public Health Action. (2019) 

https://www.routledge.com/Climate-Information-for-Public-Health-Action/Thomson-Mason/p/book/9781138069633

Connecting global priorities: biodiversity and human health: a state of knowledge review.

https://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/67397

Methodological guidance: climate change and health diagnostic : A country-based approach for assessing risks and investing in climate-smart health systems

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/552631515568426482/pdf/122328-WP-PUBLICWorldBankClimateChangeandHealthDiagnosticMethodologyJan.pdf

Operational framework for strengthening human, animal and environmental public health systems at their interface

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/703711517234402168/pdf/123023-REVISED-PUBLIC-World-Bank-One-Health-Framework-2018.pdf

The Challenge of Promoting the Health of Refugees and Migrants in Europe: A Review of the Literature and Urgent Policy Options

https://doi.org/10.3390/challe9020032

Is health promotion culturally competent to work with migrants? 

https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975918777688

The effect of perceived discrimination on the health status of immigrant population in Spain Valencia

https://www.ijic.org/articles/abstract/10.5334/ijic.s2345/

Immigrants and refugees’ principal characteristics across Europe: a literature review

https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/28/suppl_1/cky047.125/4973170?searchresult=1

Health and Social Care Principal Barriers to Immigrants and Refugees in Spain: A literature review

https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/28/suppl_1/cky048.058/4973380?searchresult=1

Modelling migrants’ access to healthcare: focus groups results from an ecological approach

https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/28/suppl_4/cky218.188/5192052?searchresult=1

 

 

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