Academies’ event on migrant health: European Commission promises to keep migration high on its agenda

On 22 November, numerous academics and experts discussed the health status of migrants in Europe and new challenges to healthcare systems posed by the recent influx of newcomers. The conference organised by ALLEA and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) saw active participation of academics, practitioners, policymakers and NGOs.

While contributions during all sessions caught the interest of the audience, the speech of John F. Ryan, Director of the Public health, Country Knowledge, Crisis Management Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate for Health and Food Safety received special attention. He confirmed that more funds would be mobilised to address the rise of migratory pressure in Europe and the health status of migrants and refugees.

Likewise, the session chaired by ALLEA Vice-President Professor Graham Caie was successful in stimulating a lively debate as the interactions went on between panellists and the audience. The speakers discussed research confirming that migrants are less likely to bring diseases from their places of departure and that in certain aspects migrant populations tend to be in good physical condition. However, they stressed that people on the move often face mental health challenges as they embark on a long and risky journey to Europe. Upon arrival, they additionally experience barriers that make access to healthcare systems difficult.

The event took place in Brussels and was hosted by the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium (ARMB) in collaboration with the French Academy of Medicine.

While the conference considerations and outcomes will be summarised in a conference report, which will be published early 2020, more related discussions can be expected at ALLEA upcoming events: