Migrant Health: Healthy Migrant Effect and the Need to Prioritize Migrant Health

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Quraish Sserwanja
Joseph Kawuki


Globally, the number of international migrants is about 258 million with over 60% of these living in Asia and Europe and the rest of the 40% living in Northern America, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Oceania. We aimed to describe the healthy migrant effect, the public health challenges faced by migrants and approaches that host countries can adopt to improve migrant health. We used literature searched from key databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed, among others, to collect relevant and recent information about migrant health. Several studies have shown recent migrants to be healthier than native-born populations. Several studies have concluded that with a longer stay in a host country, the health of migrants tends to deteriorate which could be as a result of low living and working conditions and adoption of risky health behaviour. Communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental and social problems, contribute significantly to the morbidity burden of new migrants in host countries.  Migrants in host countries are less likely to access or fully benefit from the healthcare system as they face various challenges such as language barrier, denial of access basing on the lack of documentation, and negative healthcare provider attitudes. This mini-review identifies that in order to ensure the health of migrants, host countries have to effectively coordinate and collaborate with other countries and sectors. Furthermore, it highlights a need to promote migrant-sensitive health policies aimed at improving the health of migrants, promoting equitable access to health protection and care for migrants and advocating migrants’ health rights.

Migrant health, healthy migrant effect, refugees

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How to Cite
Sserwanja, Q., & Kawuki, J. (2020). Migrant Health: Healthy Migrant Effect and the Need to Prioritize Migrant Health. Asian Journal of Medicine and Health, 18(6), 11-16. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajmah/2020/v18i630209
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