Healthcare is not universal if undocumented migrants are excluded

The decision to migrate is rarely easy. For many, there is little choice because of conflict or natural disaster, and their journeys may take months or years. Finding healthcare while in transit can be extremely challenging, and migrants may be denied care once settled. Although many migrants prosper in their new homes, for others the physical and psychological traumas can be lifelong.

The number of migrants continues to grow with an estimated 1000 million in the world, including 258 million international migrants. Of the latter, an estimated 65 million have been forcibly displaced. Nearly 26 million are refugees and asylum seekers, the highest number since the second world war.

In 2017, most migrants moving to a different country moved to countries in Asia (80 million) or Europe (78 million).3 For those with valued skills, international migration can be relatively straightforward. For others, and especially those lacking documentation, the challenges can be severe. Some refugees and asylum seekers may struggle to provide the necessary evidence to claim their rights enshrined in national law and international treaties.

Although the world’s governments have committed to achieving universal health coverage, we argue that this can be done only by including all migrants. This can be achieved where the political will exists.

 

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