The first Global Report on the Health of Refugees and Migrants published by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that more people are migrating now than ever before, but the poor conditions that this population faces places a serious threat to their health.
Migrants and refugees face discrimination and precarious legal status, as well as social, cultural, linguistic, administrative and financial barriers on a daily basis. They also face low health literacy and a constant fear of detention. The population of countries along the migratory pathway are also affected, which is why policies and cross-sectorial responses are essential to reach the WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals regarding global health and wellness.
“Today there are some 1 billion migrants globally, about one in eight people. The experience of migration is a key determinant of health and wellbeing, and refugees and migrants remain among the most vulnerable and neglected members of many societies,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director, WHO. He also highlighted the large part of the population that migrants represent: “Nearly one in eight people is a migrant, and in total there are close to one billion migrants in the world. Migration greatly affects health and wellbeing, and refugees and migrants continue to be one of the most vulnerable and neglected groups in many countries”.
Climate change and conflicts are increasing migration. About 80 percent of the world’s land area, which holds 85 percent of the world’s population, has been affected by climate change, reports the WHO. “It is predicted that over 200 million additional people will be forced to move by 2050,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director General, WHO, and Santino Severoni, Director, Health and Migration Program.
In Latin America, the number of international migrants doubled since 2005, reaching 15 million in 2021, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This is the fastest growth in migration in the world. North America was the destination of over 59 million migrants in 2020.
In Mexico, the number of people that migrate every year to the US is one of the largest concerns in the relationship between both countries. In the past four years, there has been a significant growth in the number of migrants that arrive in the US from Mexico. Between October and May 2022, there has been a 35.3 percent increase in Mexican migrants, for a total of 560,579, according to data from the US Customs and Border Protection Office reported by El Economista. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of encounters increased from 162,043 to 414,345, one of the biggest increases recorded.