Migrants’ (ill)health : migrant health policies in the European Union
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As the migration trends seem to go towards an increased proportion of migrants in the EU countries, there is an increased interest in research concerning migrant health care and migrant health policies. Often, specific needs in migrant health care are not recognized and there is a lack of adequate responses from health care systems and health policy-makers. This study focuses on exploring and reviewing barriers that migrant health care is facing in the increasingly diverse European Union. Further it focuses on exploring migrant health policies on international and national levels and analyzing how these policies promote or remove barriers in migrant health care. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that health in general is influenced by other factors and not just by health care. The most common barriers when it comes to health care access are language and communication barriers, while great importance is given to barriers in cultural understanding, health care providers’ attitudes, stigmatization and discrimination. Major barriers are also found in administrative procedures and various practical obstacles. Asylum seekers and undocumented migrants are additionally burdened by legal restrictions. International policy on human rights clearly recognizes the right to health as a human right. All the European Union countries are bound by those documents. Policy-making and decisions concerning health care are a national responsibility within the EU, and legislation as well as implementation remain extremely variable. Still, there are initiatives and examples of good practice and positive policy-making. However, there are setbacks in positive developments in part as a result of the international economic crisis. Austerity measures and increasing xenophobia pose a continuous threat to migrant health policy leading to stagnation or even reversal of positive trends.
Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy