• Thursday, January 26, 2023


Globally one in eight people today are migrants: WHO

“Human right to health is a right that extends to all people everywhere, especially refugees and migrants.”

A Rohingya refugee child peeps from his makeshift shanty at Kutupalong refugees camp, in Ukhia on October 6, 2020. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Melvin Samuel

Globally one in eight or over one billion people today are migrants with 281 million international migrants and many million individuals who are stateless, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Climate change, rising inequality, conflicts, trade, and population growth are accelerating these trends, WHO said in a statement. The health workforce has a vital role in providing for the health rights and needs of refugees and migrants. To support countries and territories to build professional competence and capacity to adequately address refugee and migrant health issues, WHO is organizing the third edition of its annual Global School on Refugee and Migrant Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a focus on capacity-building.

“Migration and displacement can have deep and long-lasting impacts on physical and mental health and well-being, and cultural and linguistic differences, financial barriers, stigma and discrimination can all hamper access to health services for refugees and migrants,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Health workers have a crucial role in helping to overcome these barriers. The WHO Global School on Refugee and Migrant Health is a valuable resource for building the capacity of health workers to better serve refugees and migrants.”

While not all refugees and migrants are vulnerable, they are often due to an array of determinants, from xenophobia and discrimination to poor living, housing, and working conditions, and inadequate access to health services that are people-centred and sensitive to refugee and migrant health needs.

“Human right to health is a right that extends to all people everywhere, especially refugees and migrants. Because to be truly respected, protected and fulfilled, a right must be fully enjoyed by the most marginalized and vulnerable – those at risk of or who are already being left behind, which often includes people on the move,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia addressing the participants.

Held in a different location each year, the Global School aims to leverage the learnings and experiences of countries in close collaboration with WHO and governments.

This year over 7.1 million Bangladeshis were displaced by climate change a number that could reach 13.3 million by 2050.


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