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WHO: Migrants need better access to health care in EU

WHO: Migrants need better access to health care in EU

World Health Organization (WHO) experts believe that the migrants need full access to medical care, The Local Denmark reported.

After WHO found out the massive disparities in access to health services in different EU countries for migrants, it urged to improve the situation as soon as possible. According to Santino Severoni, the head of the WHO’s Migration and Health Programme, Europe must guarantee migrants better access to medical care.

Filling the gap for access to basic care should improve migrants’ health, added WHO’s regional office for Europe is located in Copenhagen. The statistics in 53 countries show that refugees represent almost 10 percent of the population, or 90.7 million. Depending on the state and migrants’ status, they may enjoy full access to the health care system or none at all.

Migrant population is more likely to develop chronic illnesses and depression

The stumbling block is the lack of information and data, migrants have no idea that they have full or partial access to medical care. Severoni said that people and some governments have been reacting emotionally when it comes to a newcomer.

Depending on the country, the access for medical care varies, in 15 EU countries, asylum seekers have access to the same care as the local population, whereas in Germany and Hungary they are only entitled to emergency care. Such an approach is very dangerous because of a risk of transmitting communicable disease from the migrant population to the host population, highlight the WHO experts.

Newcomers are also more likely to develop chronic illnesses as a result of their new lifestyle and the poverty conditions some encounter. WHO’s report shows that refugees and migrants are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For many migrants, the stigma of mental illness in these groups tends to influence their decision to seek help, which may lead to more serious levels of hospitalisation.