GENEVA, January 21 (Xinhua) – Migrants and refugees may be vulnerable to infectious and non-infectious diseases, as well as chronic diseases, due to poverty or lifestyle changes with less physical activity and fewer healthy foods, said the World Health Organization (WHO) today this.
In its first report on the health of refugees and migrants in the WHO European Region, the UN health agency summarizes the latest available evidence about their health from reviewing more than 13,000 documents.
Although refugees and migrants appear to be less affected than host populations by many non-communicable diseases upon their arrival, if they live in poverty, the length of their stay in the host country increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, embolism or cancer.
Migrants and refugees also tend to change their lifestyles and have less physical activity and consume unhealthy foods, which can cause an increased risk of chronic diseases, the report said.
On the other hand, the transfer process itself can make refugees and migrants more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
For example, the proportion of refugees and migrants in tuberculosis cases in host countries varies greatly depending on the frequency of tuberculosis in the host population, and most migrants and refugees infected with HIV are infected after arriving in Europe.
In general, refugees and migrants have a higher incidence, frequency, and mortality rate in relation to diabetes than the host population, with higher rates among women.
Therefore, WHO recommends a series of actions that must be carried out by host countries, such as providing affordable and quality health protection, as well as social protection for all refugees and migrants regardless of their legal status.