The project 4HumansCare approach for refugees and other migrants’ health”, which has received funding from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020), aim to promote a better understanding of refugees and migrants’ health condition as well as to support the adaptation of the appropriate clinical attitude towards refugees and migrants’ health needs and in particular towards the health needs of fragile subgroups, such as minors, pregnant women and victims of violence.
Participating countries were those facing the greatest burden of the migration crisis at the time. In fact, they were either in the middle of the Mediterranean sea (Italy, Greece, Malta) or on the Balcanian route of refugees/migrants, and their policy and actions had clearly the highest impact also on neighboring Countries, depending on the actual ability to take care of the arrivals or at least to reduce and manage such an impact.
The 4HumansCare project is designed to implement in close cooperation with the national and local authorities of the involved Countries and is also coordinating with the ongoing activities for the migrant population, where already existing, in order to complement them and to introduce added values of EU cooperation, increased use of multidisciplinary approaches and improvements in the monitoring of activities and potential health risks.
Its main results included more appropriate health care deliveries, increased control of infectious disease risk at the early phase of migrant’s care and better taking care of migrants’ health over the European territory will have been obtained
Overall, the 4HumansCare project focused on promoting and sustaining the good health of migrants and populations in Member States experiencing strong migration pressure.
More specifically, the 4HumansCare project met the following operational objectives:
- Sustain the establishment of a multidisciplinary team in Hotspots and migrant’s Centres, in Italy, Greece and Croatia as well as promote appropriate healthcare provision to migrants and tackle health threats into the target Centres
- Ensure the rapid detection of disease outbreaks and potential public health emergencies occurring in hotspot/reception centers, contribute to prevent cross border health threats, assess the current policy in vaccination offer targeting newly arrived migrants, and provide information on endemic and currently epidemic diseases in the countries of origin and transit of newly arrived migrants to front line health care workers in order to complement the individual health assessment
- Realize a prototype of an integrated system for tracking and monitoring the health status of migrants/refugees at the moment of their arrival, based on advanced technology (smart devices and tags)
- Raise knowledge and awareness in general public with regard to “true” and “false” health topics about migrants and refugees
Empower health professionals and non-health personnel (social workers, cultural mediators, volunteers, law enforcement operators, etc.) working outside Hotspots and other migrants’ Centres, to meet the needs of migrants at their first arrival, during their move and over their stay in the target MSs, considering also children and adolescent needs
- Promote migrants health literacy with emphasis on the right to access public health care services in MSs aiming to facilitate delivery of services to migrants, according to their age
- Support the development of integrated Public Health plans, relevant to migrants and refugees, based on: the synergies and complementarities between Public sector and civil society organizations; good practices and evidence based interventions
All human rights – including the right to health – apply to all people: migrants, refugees and other non-nationals.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health.
Recently, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families entered into force, providing additional human rights protections for migrant workers.
These and other provisions should be integral to migration and health policies, programmes and legislation
Health care for refugees and asylum seekers represents a challenge for the health system of the host country for various reasons.
Examples are lack of access to health care in the host country and past experience of trauma which may have caused mental health problems. Furthermore, there may be barriers of communication, language and culture.
As a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations, 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide in 2015.
Most refugees were from Syria and over 6.3 million people fled from war!
According to national legislation, asylum seekers are entitled free of charge access to necessary health, pharmaceutical and hospital care, including necessary psychiatric care where appropriate. L 4368/2016, which provides free access to public health services and pharmaceutical treatment for persons without social insurance and vulnerable, is also applicable for asylum seekers and members of their families
In spite the favourable legal framework, actual access to health care services is hindered in practice by significant shortages of resources and capacity for both foreigners and the local population, as a result of the austerity policies followed in Greece, as well as the lack of adequate cultural mediators.
“The public health sector, which has been severely affected by successive austerity measures, is under extreme pressure and lacks the capacity to cover all the needs for health care services, be it of the local population or of migrants”.
On the Eastern Aegean islands, access to health remains particularly restricted due to lack of staff, coupled with persisting overcrowding.