JENEVA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) – Migrants and refugees may be susceptible to contagious and non-communicable diseases as well as to chronic illnesses due to poverty or a change in lifestyle with less physical activity and less Healthy Food, said today World Health Organization (WHO).
In its first report on the Health of Refugees and Migrants in the WHO European Region, the United Nations Health Agency summarized the latest available health data from a review of more than 13,000 documents.
Although it seems that refugees and migrants are less affected by the host population of many non-communicable diseases on arrival, if they live in poverty, the length of their stay in host countries increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, embolism or cancer.
Migrants and refugees are also likely to change their way of life and have less physical activity and will consume less healthy food, which may lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases, the report said.
On the other hand, the move itself can make refugees and migrants more vulnerable to communicable diseases.
For example, the proportion of refugees and migrants in host country tuberculosis varies greatly depending on the prevalence of tuberculosis in the host population and a significant proportion of HIV-infected migrants and refugees have become infected after arriving in Europe.
Overall, refugees and migrants have a higher incidence, frequency and mortality in relation to diabetes than the host population, with a higher percentage among women.
Accordingly, the WHO proposes a number of actions that host countries should take, such as providing accessible and quality health coverage, as well as social protection for all refugees and migrants, regardless of their legal status.