Health of ethnic minorities in Europe- and not only.

In an ever changing world like ours, migration is a reality that every country has to face, one way or another. According to the International Organization for Migration (IMO), the total number of international migrants has increased  over the last 10 years from about 150 million in 2000 to 214 million today, which means that one every 33 persons in the world today is, in fact, a migrant. Migration nowadays takes many different forms,  something which poses different challenges for the healthcare system of each country . The importance of issues in health and health care use amongst migrants and ethnic minorities has been recognised by different bodies, such as the European Public Health Association (EUPHA), which has a section dedicated to migrant health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) which organised a Global Consultation on Migrant Health in Madrid a few months ago.

Following this increasing need for understanding and explaining the differences in health and use of health care among different ethnicities, The International Journal of Public Health recently published a  special issue on Health of ethnic minorities in Europe. Professor Sijmen A. Reijneveld wrote an Editorial for it, which is published with open access by Springer. That means you can have it for free here!

What do you think are the major  challenges that public health professionals and policy makers have to face regarding these issues? What should future research focus on? Feel free to comment and share your experience!

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2 Responses

  1. An important issue related to migration is the associated rapid urbanization: as rural populations seek refuge, employment, etc in urban areas, we see an increase in the creation of slums and informal settlements where living conditions are worse than sub-standard. The most recent UN-HABITAT report which focused on “Hidden Cities” is well worth a read and is available here:

    I believe future research should adopt a more systemic view of migrants health and become aware of the link between the conditions left behind by these migrants (and which in part encouraged their migration) and those encountered in their new place of settlement.

  2. thomy tonia says:

    Hello Martine and thank you for your comment and the very interesing link. I agree with your recommendation for future research. I guess it is not always easy to study the conditions at a migrant’s place of origin by means other than self-report, but this could still provide useful insights into the connection of past and current health behaviour.

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