In this study, we collect and synthesize information on the health status of the refugee/migrant population in ten European countries in order to map refugee/migrant health needs. With this information, we identify areas of intervention and healthcare system strengthening to provide the basis for future health planning and effective healthcare provision to migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in the European Union (EU).
Methods: 1407 migrants in ten European Union countries (consortium members of the Mig-HealthCare project) were surveyed on general health, mental health, and specific diseases using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate the risk factors on general quality of life for migrants and refugees in the EU.
Results: Mean age was 31.9 (±11.05) years and 889 (63.1%) participants were males. The majority came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, and Iran. Having a mental health disorder or a chronic disease such as a heart or respiratory disease was associated with worse general health. On the other hand, having permission to stay in the country of interview and being interviewed in the country of final destination was associated with better general health. Access to health care services was fragmented or unavailable for some interviewees because of linguistic, cultural, or administrative barriers.
Conclusions: The management of chronic diseases and mental health conditions in European migrants and refugees is a key priority for health service provision. Further efforts should be made to guarantee healthcare access for migrant and refugee populations.
Keywords: chronic diseases; health needs; mental health; migrants; refugees.