Time to Rethink Refugee and Migrant Health in Europe: Moving from Emergency Response to Integrated and Individualized Health Care Provision for Migrants and Refugees

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 May 28;15(6):1100. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061100.


In the last three years, the European Union (EU) is being confronted with the most significant influx of migrants and refugees since World War II. Although the dimensions of this influx-taking the global scale into account-might be regarded as modest, the institutional response to that phenomenon so far has been suboptimal, including the health sector. While inherent challenges of refugee and migrant (R&M) health are well established, it seems that the EU health response oversees, to a large extend, these aspects. A whole range of emergency-driven health measures have been implemented throughout Europe, yet they are failing to address adequately the changing health needs and specific vulnerabilities of the target population. With the gradual containment of the migratory and refugee waves, three years after the outbreak of the so-called 'refugee crisis', we are, more than ever, in need of a sustainable and comprehensive health approach that is aimed at the integration of all of migrants and refugees-that is, both the new and old population groups that are already residing in Europe-in the respective national health systems.

Keywords: European Union (EU); healthcare; refugee and migrant (R&M) health; refugee crisis.

MeSH terms

  • Comprehensive Health Care* / methods
  • Comprehensive Health Care* / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated* / methods
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated* / organization & administration
  • Emergencies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Health Services Accessibility* / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Refugees*