International Journal of Health System and Disaster Management

: 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45--46

Exploring the impact of migration on dimensions of health: Global overview

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Exploring the impact of migration on dimensions of health: Global overview.Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2015;3:45-46

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Exploring the impact of migration on dimensions of health: Global overview. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 May 20 ];3:45-46
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Owing to the impending globalization, international travel, human trafficking, weak public health care delivery system, and booming of medical tourism, a significant rise has been observed in the number of people who are migrating (local/national/international) every year. [1],[2] In fact, a dynamic association has been observed between disease and migration and a sizeable impact has been observed on health related parameters (viz., types of illness, magnitude, availability of adequate number of resources, etc.). [2],[3]

A broad range of determinants ranging from community level (viz., under-development, rising trends of disease, limited education or job opportunity, socio-cultural norms, inadequate healthcare services, poor housing/water/sanitation, and history of prior migration); household and individual levels (viz., age at migration, male gender, educated individuals, familial separation, marital conflicts, avenues for education); and global health disparities, have been attributed to the rising trends of migration. [3],[4] Furthermore, findings from a study revealed that the major determinants for migration were economic, followed by familial dynamics and health concerns, respectively. [5]

Migrants and other mobile population tend to carry the characteristics of their place and environment of origin which may affect their health status. [6] These migrants may introduce new or previously eradicated diseases to the region of destination, or may contract diseases which are nonexistent in their region of origin. [7] The phenomenon of migration tends to have a multi-dimensional impact on the age-sex distribution; [8] socioeconomic characteristics of a population; [8] treatment seeking behavior; [2] incidence of infectious (viz., malaria, sexually transmitted infections, etc.) and lifestyle diseases; [3],[6] and housing/water supply/sanitation services. [9] In fact, medical screening has been recommended to quantify and record health/disease-related events in the migrant cohorts, so that the formulation of evidence-based policies; allocation of resources; and comparison with national/international data can be ensured. [7],[9]

Despite availability of confirmatory evidence to suggest the association between migration and multiple domains of health (direct/indirect), a significant number of challenges such as lack of an effective surveillance system to quantify the magnitude of migration (including the illegal human trafficking, etc.); nonexisting streamlined mechanism to ensure health screening; inadequate monetary allocation; and no mechanism/preparedness by the health system of countries to adapt to the health needs of the migrants; have been identified. [3],[5],[7] In fact, the migration of human population from one country to another provides a unique opportunity to the epidemiologist to assess the role of the genetic/environmental factors in the occurrence of disease in a population by assessing the health status at the time of migration and subsequently over a period of time. [2]

To counter the impact of migration on health dimensions, there is an immense need to formulate a holistic, long-term, evidence-based, and global healthcare policy, well-supported by international collaboration. In addition, implementation of additional measures such as ensuring sustained political commitment; screening of migrants for health ailments; sensitizing undergraduate medical students during their curriculum/public or private medical practitioners about the cross-national medical encounters; organizing training sessions for outreach workers to improve the treatment seeking behavior of migrants; facilitating delivery of culturally or linguistically sensitive programs for the prevention or treatment of illness in migrant communities; and conducting community-based studies to assess the relationship between migration and health; have been recommended to negate the negative impact of migration, especially on health. [2],[5],[7],[9]

To conclude, for ensuring the effective management of health issues resulting from population migration, a strategically planned integration of national and global health initiatives is desired to counter the concern of global health inequity.


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