WHO study, launched on International Migrants Day reveals,"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a highly negative impact on the living and working conditions of refugees and migrants."
World Health Organization's survey, conducted over more than 30,000 refugees and migrants from different regions around the world shows that the living and working coditions for migrants have dramatically worsened due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The survey was conducted to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental and physical health as well as their ability to work and support themselves.
“Refugees and migrants live and work in often-harsh conditions with inadequate access to health, housing, water, sanitation and other basic services,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It is vital for all countries to reduce barriers that prevent refugees and migrants from obtaining health care, and to include them in national health policies”
More than half the respondents to the survey across different parts of the world said that COVID-19 brought about greater level of depression, fear, anxiety and loneliness. One in five also talked about a deterioration of mental health and increased use of drug and alcohol.
The report further went on to show that, limited access to information due to language and cultural barriers, coupled with the marginalization of refugees and migrant communities, place them amongst the hardest to reach populations when information is disseminated.
Also the undocumented migrants do not seek health care due to financial constraints and the fear of deportation. They are also often excluded from national health programmes or social protection schemes that could facilitate access to health and social services.
Photo courtesy: WHO/Blink Media- Martin Ann.
The report underlines the need and importance of including refugees and migrants in inclusive policy responses to COVID-19. The aim of the survey is to draw its findings to expand research and evidence gathering from across the world to better understand how the pandemic has created increasingly difficult living conditions for refugees and migrants.