UP MS Migrant Health Programs

Dr. Erika Marek, senior lecturer at the Department of Operational Medicine, University of Pecs, as a part of her ’János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ and ‘ÚNKP-19-4 Bolyai + New National Excellence Program’ research activities, has conducted interview study among Hungarian healthcare workers together with dr. Reka Kalmar, previous undergraduate medical student (since 2019 MD). The purpose of their study was to explore how health providers’ implicit racial bias may impact Roma patients’ health according to healthcare workers’ views.

Please, find below a short summary of their study:research summary
This research was supported by János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The support period of this stipend is 2017/09/01-2020/08/31. „Supported by the ÚNKP-19-4 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology” and University of Pecs, Medical School, PTE ÁOK-KA [No.2017-16].

People on the move, whether they are economic migrants or forcibly displaced persons such asylum seekers, refugees, and internally displaced persons (hereafter called migrants & refugees), should be explicitly included in the responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This global public health emergency brings into focus, and may exacerbate, the barriers to healthcare these populations face. Many migrant & refugee populations live in conditions where physical distancing and recommended hygiene measures are particularly challenging. The Covid-19 pandemic reveals the extent of marginalisation migrant & refugee populations face. From an enlightened self-interest perspective, the Covid-19 disease outbreak control measures will only be successful if all populations are included in the response. It is counter- productive to exclude migrant & refugee populations from the preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Statements from UNCHR (https://bit.ly/39YRB7V), IRC (https://bit.ly/34pOaWE) and a joint statement from OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO (https://bit.ly/2K7usG9) also call for the rights and health of migrants and refugees to be protected in the Covid-19 response.

The Covid-19 response globally should be guided by the following recommendations from the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration & Health (https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(18)32114-7.pdf):

• Universal and equitable access to health services and to all determinants of the highest attainable standard of health within the scope of universal health coverage needs to be provided by governments to migrant populations, regardless of age, gender, or legal status.
• It is essential to recognise inclusion of mobility as key to effective health care and health systems and to shift away from the traditional structure and delivery of health systems through geopolitical borders.
• Racism and prejudice should be confronted with a zero tolerance approach. Public leaders and elected officials have a political, social, and legal responsibility to oppose xenophobia and racism that fuels prejudice and exclusion of migrant populations.

Lancet Migration and the below signatories call for:

**Urgent access to healthcare for all migrants & refugees throughout the response to Covid-19
R1. Immediate suspension of laws that limit migrants & refugees access to healthcare services and economic support programmes. This may be achieved through measures such as temporarily granting residency to migrants & refugees and suspending health care user fees. Internal migrants and those internally displaced need special focus during lockdowns, in order to ensure that these measures do not disproportionately disadvantage these populations, and that their previous lack of access to basic shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, or food is not compounded.
R2. ‘Firewalls’ to be put in place between health data and immigration authorities. To encourage access to healthcare for migrant & refugee populations, it is of utmost importance that there is separation between health access and legal status as well as immigration enforcement during this pandemic.
R3. Action beyond the nation-state level to uphold human rights and global health security. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic cannot be defeated within borders. We urge countries to support the UNHCR’s call for US$255 million to support those living in refugee and refugee-like situations.

**Inclusion of all migrant & refugee populations in prevention, preparedness for and response to Covid-19
R1. Transfer of migrants & refugees held in overcrowded reception, transit and detention facilities to safer living conditions. There should be prioritised evacuation of the most vulnerable, such as those with underlying health conditions. Since such settings are generally overcrowded with poor sanitation and hygiene measures, the spread of Covid-19 has the potential to be rapid and devastating among affected populations and those working there.
R2. Deportations should be temporarily suspended, while asylum procedures should continue according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, with no forced return (refoulement).
R3. Urgent relocation and reunification of unaccompanied minors, who are particularly vulnerable as aid and support services to migrants & refugees are negatively affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Relocation and reunification efforts should be pursued to ensure children receive adequate fostering and care.
R4. Expedited temporary accreditation of migrants & refugees with healthcare-related degrees and qualifications to join the health and care workforce in their resident countries. With the health and care workforce in many countries stretched as never before, the workforce shortage is well documented in many migrant and refugee-hosting countries. Fast-tracking temporary accreditation of overseas degrees can help overcome this.

**Responsible, transparent and migrant-inclusive public information strategies
R1. Clear, transparent public communication is critical in pandemic response. This should include migrant populations, with a focus on linguistically and culturally appropriate information.
R2. Governments should also actively counter racism, xenophobia and discrimination that fuels prejudice and exclusion of migrant & refugee populations.
R3. An evidence-based approach should be key to communications during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The full statement on the Lancet Migration website (www.migrationandhealth.org) can be read here: https://bit.ly/3a1Zyt4
in the world.
**Please add your name and affiliation below to publicly support this statement if you are an academic, healthcare worker, public health professional or working in the field of refugee or migrant health anywhere. Please click here to register...

MTA PAB facade

CONSENSUS CONFERENCE for establishing a European level Migration Health Database

Pécs, 07-08 October 2019

Location: MTA PAB Székház (Hall of Regional Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Hungary, Pécs, Jurisics Miklós street 44.

Scope and purpose:

From the point of view of the health/ public health stability and security of Europe, there is a clear and urgent demand that their relevant systems and institutions would be capable to respond properly and timely to migration related health and public health challenges according to an evidence-based manner.

In order to fulfilling one of its designated tasks, and facilitating the realization of the Migrant Sensitive Health and Public Health Systems, WHO Collaborating Centre (WCC) at University of Pécs (UoP), in cooperation with WHO European Office, is organizing an WHO European Region level event entitled:

Migration related health/ public health challenges and needed responses – defining conditions for establishing an European level migration health database – a consensus conference

The main goal of this event is to bring together leading experts in migrant health with the aim of working out the basic principles of a highly coherent and consistent European Migrant Health Database, as an essential tool for the ‘evidence based’ planning and development of public health and health care systems that are prepared and capable to address the new challenges.

In line with UoP WCC’s other tasks and capacity, we offer to develop and run training programs for building the necessary human resource capacity in this field.

The participation is free of charge, but registration is required due to the free, provided catering services during the event.


Documents of the conference can be found here.

Direct link to the Outcome document.


Workshop reports


Dr. Erika Marek, senior lecturer represented our department and gave oral presentation at the 2nd International Congress of Health Workforce Education and Research organized by the European University Cyprus in Nicosia, Cyprus between 9th - 10th May 2019.

The title of the presentation: Medical students’ self-assessed level of intercultural competence: first results of a Hungarian survey.

On 26 and 27 of March 2019 the team of the Univeristy of Pécs Medical School Migration Health Programs carried out a short training on the health aspects of migration. The event was organized jointly by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Federal Ministry of Health of Bosnia with partial funding from Switzerland. The training was held in Bihać, the administrative center of Una-Sana Canton Bosnia.

The training was chaired by Victor Olsavszky, WHO, Aida Omanović Public Health director of Una-Sana Canton, and the Team Leader of the Department of Migration Health of the University of Pécs Medical School, Dr Sitván Szilárd, and Marina Bera Assistant Minister of Federal Ministry of Health. The training focused on the technical aspects of professionals dealing with migrants and on the differences of treating them compared to local populations.

It was highlighted by Bosina officials that Bosnia is on the reform of mental health issues and also migration is a very highly active topic, and they need help from experts who have gone through these challenges in the past.

The Department of Operational Medicine of the Medical School of University of Pécs is organising a Vaccination Roundtable event as part of the Global Immunisation Week of the World Health Organisation on 30th April, 2019.

The motto of the WHO program is "Protected Together, #VaccinesWork".

The Department is a WHO Collaborating Centre and annually takes part of the Immunization Week. The program addresses the problems of anti-vaccination movements and the recent outbreaks of Measles.

The event will take place in the Dean's Conference-Room at the Medical School of University of Pécs, from 10:30 to 14:10 30th April. The introductory address will be given by Dr. Ledia Lazeri, head of WHO Country office in Hungary. The language of the event will be predominantly Hungarian, but intentionally is bilingual along with English. 


In order to facilitate the realization of those tasks highlighted in numerous high level documents and declarations as well as acting in line with our WCC TOR, we propose that University of Pécs Medical School and its WCC, in cooperation with WHO EURO PHAME program and with the support and participation of the Government of Hungary, will organize a WHO EURO level symposium in 2019. The main goal of this event is to bring together leading experts in migrant health with the aim of working out the basic principles of a highly coherent and consistent European Migrant Health Database, as an essential tool for the ‘evidence based’ planning and development of public health and health care systems that are prepared and capable to address the new challenges.  In line with our WCC’s other tasks and capacity, we may offer to develop and run training program as well for building the necessary human resource capacity in this field.

The title of the symposium will be the following Migration related health/public health challenges and needed responses – defining conditions for establishing a European level migration health database – a consensus conference and it will be held in Pécs, Hungary between mid September and early October, 2019.

We plan to organize plenary sessions as well as workshops dealing with connected issues. During the plenary sessions we will be introduced to an overview of WHO , ECDC, DG Santé, EUPHA migrant health statements, declarations and other related documents; overview of the already existing country level migrant health databases in WHO European Region, related endowers in Hungary, and experiences in the USA (CDC); feedback from the workshops and plenary level discussion of their proposals and the Drafting Committee introduces the Proposal for establishing a European Level Migration Health Database. Discussion and adoption of the document. The parallel workshops will cover the following issues,

  • What kind of data should be collected? Data sources. (WHO, ECDC, EUPHA statements and proposals and overview of the related Member States level legislation and practices);
  • Best practices – overview of the European and non-European practices, checking compatibility possibilities – composing suggestions;
  • IT conditions for establishing a Europewide compatible and accessible database;
  • Conditions for transferable migrant health data; legal, human rights and personality protection aspects – the way how to cope with them;
  • How the necessary human resource could be provided/built – principles and structure of the training program;

The participation on the conference will be free of charge for a number of participants; registration will be open by the end of the year. For more information, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last December, I participated in a ShipCon Training in Palermo titled ICT SKills in Education funded by Erasmus plus staff mobility program. The training lasted for 5 days and during that we developed three projects in groups. I got the opportunity to lead one of these project groups which was a great challenge, however the assigned tasks proved to be very useful. One of the tasks was to solve an HR related matter by using Edmodo and online platforms only. The second one was to create a video with Filmora video editor about our daily work and free time in Palermo, and finally, we learned how to develop a structured folder for an EU project with the support of Dropbox. All these tools are very engaging, creative and can be used effectively in order to save time as well. We were also introduced to a Belbin test that let us form project groups with a mixture of people with different sets of skills ensuring the effectiveness of our groupwork.

We have not only participated in the course, but made fruitful connections as well. We also visited monuments in the city of Palermo in our free time and took part in an organized trip to Erice. As I stayed a weekend longer I also had a chance to visit Mount Etna and experience the ongoing eruptions. 

Nikolett Arnold, our staff member has been elected to the Board of European Network of Intercultural Elderly Care (ENIEC) last year.

As an ENIEC member, the first board meeting of the year took place on 16-17 January in Tallinn. During the meeting not only the organization of the next Annual Meeting in Bristol had been discussed, but we also met stakeholders in the City of Tallinn in the hope of future collaboration with Estonian institutes, such as the Estonian Institute of Population Studies, the Integration Foundation and the Social Welfare and Healthcare Deaprtment. Our Estonian-Finnish colleague, Siiri Jakson helped us and coordinated the meeting.

The University of Pecs Medical School invites you to participate on the conference titled

 Consensus Conference - Migration related health/ public health challenges and the necessary response: The conditions for establishing European level Migration Health Database

Towards establishing common standards for collecting, storing and sharing data on migrant health 


The conference will be held in Pécs, Hungary on 11-13 April 2018with the support ofWHO Europe Regional Officeand theMinistry of Human Capacities.  

The participation on the conference will be free of charge for a number of participants; registration will be open by the end of the year. For more information, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website https://www.mighealth-unipecs.hu/.

The University of Pécs Medical School Department of Migration Health has launched the Specialist in Migration Health course this fall. The course is full-time postgraduate training course for students who already have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a one of the specified fields. The course is a 120 ECTS course that is built up of 6 modules:

  • clinical and public health assessment;
  • epidemiology and research methodology;
  • environmental medicine and occupational health;
  • economic / health economic impact of migration;
  • organization and systems management;
  • social and behavioural aspects of migration including multicultural, multireligious aspects and their health/ mental health impact.

We are delighted that we were able to kick-off this course as the finishing point of an Erasmus LLP that focused on the development of the course with a consortium of 6 leading univerisities from Europe:

  • Danube University Krems
  • Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice
  • Medizinische Universität Graz
  • Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
  • University of East Anglia
  • Univeristy of Pécs

We launched the first program only in English language, however next September we would like to start both in English and Hungarian

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