Migration and health

While there is a long history of research on migration and health, it has generally been narrow focusing on disease, especially communicable disease. Moreover, dominance of the ‘healthy migrant’ model whereby migrant populations are considered to be healthier than non-migrant populations because of the selectivity of the migration process has masked the complexity of the relationship between migration and health. However, the 2008 World Health Assembly2 (WHA) and the 2010 Global Consultation on Migrant Health (Fortier 2010) have directed the attention of States towards a more holistic consideration of the diversity of migrants’ vulnerability to health problems and the need for developing more migrant-sensitive health systems. This chapter focuses on the key migration health concerns and issues faced by migrants and health providers in South and South-West Asia and then considers the availability of, and accessibility to, health-care services among migrant groups.


1 Graeme Hugo, ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, Professor of Geography and Director of the National Centre for Social Applications of GIS, University of Adelaide; with Jacqueline Weekers, Senior Migrant Health Officer, SPR/HAC, WHO Geneva; Amber Parkes, Regional Migration Health Associate, IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; John McGeoghan, Regional Counter Trafficking & Assisted Voluntary Return Specialist, IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; and Marta Vallejo-Mestres, HIV and AIDS Programme Specialist, UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre

2 The sixty-first session of the World Health Assembly was held from 19 to 24 May 2008 in Geneva. During this session, which had 2,704 participants from 190 countries, a number of public health issues were discussed and several resolutions were adopted. One of the points dealt with was public health challenges faced by governments and societies on the health of migrants and health matters associated with migration Thus, it was in this session that the member States requested WHO to assess health aspects in migrant environments and to explore options to improve the health of migrants and from this basis, a resolution on the health of migrants was formed.