How do variations in definitions of “Migrant” and their application influence the access of migrants to health care services?

Added December 6, 2016

Citation: Hannigan A., O’Donnell P., O’Keeffe M., et al. How do variations in definitions of ‘migrant’ and their application influence the access of migrants to health care services? Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2016 (Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report 46).

Variations in definitions used for “migrant” and for different groups of migrants in different areas can affect health system policies and migrant access to health care.

This systematic review explored this issue using evidence from academic peer-reviewed and grey literature in 169 publications in English or Russian from 2010 to 2015 that focused on primary care or both primary and secondary care (including screening services and emergency departments). There is currently no universally accepted definition for migrant at an international level and the heterogeneity of definitions used limits comparability of routinely collected data. Legal status was one of the most significant factors determining access to affordable and adequate health services for migrants in a country. Identifying preferred terms for migrants, seeking consensus on important migration-related variables for collection across health information systems and progressing towards universal access to health care across the WHO European Region are recommended as policy options.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.

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