Refugee and migrant health

Draft Global Action Plan ‘Promoting the health of refugees and migrants’
(2019-2023)

At its Seventy-second World Health Assembly in May 2019, the Health Assembly will discuss a report ‘Promoting the health of refugees and migrants, Draft global action plan, 2019-2023. Its development is in response to a request by the Health Assembly in resolution WHA70.15 on promoting the health of refugees and migrants for the Director-General, inter alia, to develop a draft global action plan on the health of refugees and migrants for consideration by the Seventy-second World Health Assembly.


More people are on the move now than ever before. There are an estimated 1 billion migrants in the world today of whom 258 million are international migrants and 763 million internal migrants – one in seven of the world’s population. 68 million of the world’s internal and international migrants are forcibly displaced today. This rapid increase of population movement has important public health implications, and therefore requires an adequate response from the health sector.

The right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is established in the WHO Constitution of 1948. Ratified international human rights standards and conventions exist to protect the rights of migrants and refugees, including their right to health. Nevertheless, many refugees and migrants often lack access to health services and financial protection for health.


258 million

Globally, there are an estimated 258 million international migrants, and 763 million internal migrants.

68 million

Globally, there are an estimated 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes.

86%

Developing countries host 86% of the forced displaced population.



The 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Agenda recognizes the positive contributions of refugees and migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The recent large-scale population movement has posed epidemiological and health system challenges, to which public health and health systems must adjust.

Lack of Universal Health Coverage can lead to excessive costs for refugees and migrants, many of whom pay out of pocket for health services.



What is WHO doing?

UNHCR/Hélène Caux

The access of refugees and migrants to quality, essential health services is of paramount importance to rights-based health systems, global health security and to public efforts aimed at reducing health inequities.


External partners

Open source

Health and migration is a multi-dimensional matter. WHO is working with key partners to address the health needs of refugees and migrants.

Personal stories

UNHCR/Sebastian Rich

A space for personal stories of refugees and migrants.

Contact us

Health and Migration
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland

Email: migrants@who.int

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