Migration and Health

Publishing Month: 
August, 2017

"As long as you look on migration as a problem, as something as to solve, you're not going to get anywhere. You have to look at it as a human reality that's as old as human kind. It's mankind oldest poverty reduction strategy. As citizens, we have to find a way to manage it" - William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration.

The International Migration Report of 2015 states that the number of international migrants worldwide has grown rapidly over the past fifteen years to reach 244 million in 2015 and nearly two-thirds of all international migrants live in Europe (76 million) or Asia (75 million). Most migrants worldwide originate from middle-income countries (157 million in 2015). Between 2000 and 2015, the number of migrants originating from middle-income countries increased more rapidly than those from countries in any other income group. In 2015, India had the largest “diaspora” in the world (16 million), followed by Mexico (12 million). 

Internal migration remains a topic of considerable significance in many countries including India, especially from the development perspective, as it represents an important livelihood diversification strategy of the poorer sections of the society. The 61st World Health Assembly acknowledged that the health of migrants is an important public health matter and recognized the need for WHO to consider the health needs of migrants in the framework of the broader agenda on migration and development. Studies among migrants conducted in India reveal that they are at a higher risk for many health concerns including work related injuries and illnesses, non-communicable diseases, HIV and other infections, nutritional disorders and poor maternal and child health. Poor living and working conditions, acculturation, modernization, livelihood insecurity, stress during adjustment process, easy transmission of infections in pockets where migrants concentrate, risk prone behavior, poor health care access and utilization and poor health care coverage are few of the many reasons that contribute to this grim picture in migrant health. 

One of the factors that need to be highlighted is the need for a migrant sensitive and responsive health care system with an emphasis on primary health care.  All of this month we will be uploading papers, presentations, videos, blogs and news items related to this relevant topic on our web portal. Hope our readers will be enriched and inspired to delve more into this issue!