Migration and public health in Europe

Reblogged from Science on the Net

Talking about public health in Europe today also means talking about migration. Nowadays, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 73 million migrants are estimated to be living in the European Region, accounting for nearly 8 percent of the total population, and 11 million immigrants have arrived in Europe in 2013. The point is that the word immigration has several meanings: it means people who choose to come and live in Europe for study and work; it means the difficult stories of those who have to leave their families to come to work as a domestic worker; last but not least, it means fleets of people crammed into small boats putting their lives in the hands of luck. This last phenomenon represents one of the biggest challenge for European health policy.

Although involving the whole of Europe, the problem of the ongoing management of migration flows does not affect all countries equally. Since the beginning of the crisis in North Africa in 2011, the Mediterranean countries have been experiencing a continuous state of emergency, due to the uncontrolled arrival of migrants fleeing from their countries, and the weakness of the infrastructure, often incapable to stem such a phenomenon. Although some places in the Mediterranean area are at the centre of the migratory routes, Italy was not the country with the largest number of immigrants in 2013.

In fact, according to WHO, France, Germany, the UK and Sweden have welcomed many more immigrants in 2013 than Italy. And even if we consider the totality of migration worldwide, Italy is not on the top of the rank.

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