Public health aspects of migrant health: a review of the evidence on health status for refugees and asylum seekers in the European Region

    Publication year: 2015

    Refugees and asylum seekers are defined in many ways, but can be considered as those who did not make a voluntary choice to leave their country of origin and cannot return home in safety. Outcome data are limited and mostly focused on perinatal and mental health but do suggest significant levels of unmet need. This scoping review considered 72 studies in which refugees and asylum seekers formed part or all of the population studied. The results show that access to appropriate health care across the WHO European Region is very varied and is overwhelmingly shaped by legal frameworks and the regulation of the migration process. The need for improved communication with asylum seekers and coordinated action between agencies within and beyond the health care system is widely noted. Improved data are imperative to support intersectoral work to address the health care needs of asylum seekers and refugees.