From April 3rd to 9th, a seminar on migrant and minority health, organized by the Open Medical Institute from the American-Austrian Foundation and Open Society Foundations, Public Health Reviews and ASPHER, took place in Salzburg, Austria. A member of europeanpublichealth.com joined this event, presenting a Master Thesis Project that focused on exploring links between migration, ethnicity and drug use.
A more timely moment for this event to have taken place was almost hard to imagine, considering the current migration crisis that poses the EU with challenges of unimaginable dimension.
The seminar brought together a multitude of experts on the topics relating to migration and health, allowing for profound and constructive debates on the matter. The programme was filled with lectures and presentations, providing case- and country-level insights on the current migration situation and health impacts and responses. Moreover, three working groups were constituted, namely: ´Political´, ´Health´ and ´Social’. Meeting on each day of the seminar, the working groups converged the knowledge transferred during those days, discussed and reached final conclusions and recommendations that were shared at the end of the week. A final position paper including the seminar’s conclusions and recommendations is currently being developed and will surely be updated on this website, as well as further disseminated to important institutions and stakeholders to take into account in their decision-making.
To name a few highlights, access to healthcare and medical responsibility was stressed; all patients are people and all people share this common duty. Moreover, the organization of healthcare and health system responses to the migration crisis should not be considered as a one-way street; migrants should be able to become involved in the organization, responsibility and delivery of care and the responsibility to prevent epidemics continues to rest on the shoulders of all citizens. Additionally, guidelines should be drafted and adopted, designing a minimum package of services to migrant communities and at the same time serve as a base of political consensus.
The pertaining issues surrounding migration and health could not be solved, nor can an appropriate response to the current crisis be worded in a single recommendation. However, the complexity of this specific issue was clearly demonstrated, stressing once again the pressing need of adequately bridging gaps between research outcomes, experiences and knowledge on the one hand, with targeted and responsible actions at political and decision-making level on the other hand.
To be continued…