This review provides an overview and critical assessment of TB screening practices that are focused on migrants and visitors from high to low TB incidence countries, including pre-migration screening and post-migration follow-up of those deemed to be at an increased risk of developing TB. We focus mainly on migrants who enter the destination country via application for a long-stay visa, as well as asylum seekers and refugees, but briefly consider issues related to short-term visitors and those with long duration multiple-entry visas. Issues related to the screening of children and screening for latent TB infection are also explored.

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This article outlines how collaboration between like-minded national governments can improve premigration health screening through information sharing, collaborative learning and increased capability in countries of origin to not only screen for illness and disability, but to more effectively put measures in place to address these before, during and after arrival. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US have worked together for more than a decade on migration health screening policies to ensure better management of health needs and successful resettlement. A case study about the Syrian refugee cohort, which began arriving in Australia in late 2015, illustrates how intergovernmental collaboration can improve settlement.

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Targeting migrants for catch-up vaccination is cost effective for presumptive vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, and polio, and there was no evidence of benefit of carrying out pre-vaccination serological testing. The cost-effectiveness is sensitive to the seroprevalence and adherence to vaccinations of the migrant. We conclude that scarce but direct EU/EEA data suggest social mobilization, vaccine programs, and education campaigns are promising strategies for migrants, but more research is needed. Research should also study cost effectiveness of strategies. Vaccination of migrants should continue to be a public heath priority in EU/EEA.

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Drawing on discussions with policy makers, research scholars, civil society, and United Nations agencies held in Colombo, we emphasize the urgent need for quality research on international and domestic (in-country) migration and health to support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to ‘leave no-one behind’ irrespective of their legal status. An ethically sound human rights approach to research that involves engagement across multiple disciplines is required. Researchers need to be sensitive when designing and disseminating research findings as data on migration and health may be misused, both at an individual and population level. We emphasize the importance of creating an ‘enabling environment’ for migration and health research at national, regional and global levels, and call for the development of meaningful linkages – such as through research reference groups – to support evidence-informed inter-sectoral policy and priority setting processes.

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Despite the ever-growing prominence of human mobility across the globe, and Sustainable Development Goals of leaving no one behind, research output on migrants’ health is not consistent with the global migration pattern. A stronger evidence base is needed to enable authorities to make evidence-informed decisions on migration health policy and practice.

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