Reducing the impact of the coronavirus crisis on those ‘left behind’ – Disadvantaged Migrants and Ethnic Minorities (MEM)
The EUPHA Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health section comprises of more than 1800 practitioners, scholars and researchers across Europe and beyond (81 countries). This statement and call for action has been prepared by the EUPHA MIG Section Steering Committee https://eupha.org/migrant-and-ethnic-minority-health on behalf of the membership.
- It is time to act together to bring COVID 19 under control. Individuals, families, communities, health care systems and countries are all grappling with a common problem: how to break the chain of transmission and to reduce the toll on human
- Amidst the calls for unity, solidarity and protection in battling the pandemic, there are those ‘left behind’ who might be completely forgotten. The chain of preventive measures is only as strong as its weakest link as not to do so spells greater disasters. Ignoring or forgetting these groups might cost them not only their lives but will undoubtedly have an impact on controlling the
- In Europe, migrants and ethnic minorities (MEM) vary greatly in their origins, culture, health status, health literacy, economic status as well as in their entitlements and access to health and social services. A large majority are productive members of their host countries. Some of them are an essential part of the work force, including delivery of health care not only at the frontline but also behind the scenes. Others are detained, marginalized, segregated, whereas some are discriminated against and remain in the shadows at the fringes of society. The situation of disadvantaged groups makes them particularly
- Previous evidence has shown that disadvantaged MEM groups face barriers in accessing health care services. Now their risk might have increased because symptomatic individuals may not contact health authorities, others (such as some Roma people) do not have access to water/sanitation; and, undocumented migrants are not entitled to health care services, and may not be able to self-isolate due to financial barriers or lack of suitable home/ housing facilities.
- At particular high risk are those living in very crowded conditions with lack of adequate water or sanitation and are at risk of both contracting the illness and of major outbreaks. An obvious example are refugees in overcrowded
- The contact of different MEM groups with health care systems and society at large, differs as does their access to knowledge, information and protection about COVID 19. Furthermore, many may not have the socio-economic means or the technical know-how (online systems) to provide for themselves and their families during lockdowns and