[Open Access] National preparedness and response plans for COVID-19 and other diseases: Why migrants should be included

National preparedness and response plans for COVID-19 and other diseases: Why migrants should be included

Dominik Zenner and Kolitha Wickramage

Migration Data Portal | 14 May 2020

“An inclusive approach to epidemic control requires detailed knowledge and information about all relevant population groups, including their demography, their cultural-linguistic and socio-economic needs and of course, their health and illness, including COVID-19. The benefits of ensuring that public health messages can be understood and help appropriately should be obvious for any public health campaign and are vital if COVID-19 is to be successfully controlled. It is also critical to understand potential benefits and costs of public health measures to all population groups, and to avoid inadvertently aggravating vulnerabilities, such as deterrence of health service access through police-enforced social distancing measures or separation of migrants from family and social support networks when being stranded due to border closures.

In many countries, rapidly applied and crude public health measures for COVID-19 are increasingly being fine-tuned in renewed efforts of deconfinement of populations. This phase will require detailed knowledge and information about the epidemic and active inclusion of all migrant population groups in healthcare and in epidemic control plans will not only be the right thing to do from a human rights perspective, but also vital to successful COVID-19 control going forward.”

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