Migrant and Refugee Health

Despite the greatly increased numbers of migrants and refugees worldwide in recent years, insufficient attention has been paid to addressing their health needs. While a variety of international instruments assert the right to health, in practice migrants and refugees – especially those awaiting clarification of their status, such as asylum seekers and those without documentation – often fall through the cracks between service providers and humanitarian relief programs at national and regional levels.

The M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centres, Universities and National Academies has put the issue on the agenda of the World Health Summit since 2015. In 2017, the M8 Alliance held their first Expert Meeting in Rome. Attended by participants from around the world, the meeting examined the health of migrants and refugees. Results from discussions and from the literature were synthesized to develop an “agenda of solutions”. A follow-up meeting was organized in June 2018, and the discussion will be continued in 2019.


Expert Meetings


2019 | Rome: Save the date

The 3rd M8 Alliance Expert meeting on Migrant and Refugee Health
will be held at Sapienza University of Rome on 7 June 2019.


2018 | Rome

M8 Alliance Expert Meeting Migrant and Refugee Health
June 15-16, 2018, Sapienza University of Rome

The meeting continued the discussion of a previous Expert Meeting 2017.

Speakers and Chairs:

Luciano Saso, Vice-Rector for European University Networks, Sapienza University (Overall chair)
Santino Severoni, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark
Alexander Krämer, Bielefeld University, Germany
Joachim Seybold, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Anneliese Depoux, Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Duarte Nuno Vieira, European Council of Legal Medicine and University of Coimbra, Portugal
Gillian Bentley, Durham University, UK.
Emanuele Mugnani, Compugroup Medical SE, Germany
Carlo Della Rocca, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome
Paolo Villari, Director of the Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Maurizio Marceca, Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy
Giuseppe La Torre, Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Corrado De Vito, Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Short report:

The 2nd M8 Alliance Expert Meeting on Migrant and Refugee Health drew more than 50 participants to the Sapienza University of Rome in mid-June. At it, scientists from around the world brought experience and scientific results together in a focused effort to address the broad range of public health challenges being faced and solutions being developed by health systems managing the health of migrants and refugees. In particular, the situation in different European countries such as Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, and UK, as well as in countries in Asia such as Iran and Lebanon was presented and discussed.

Luciano Saso, Vice-Rector for European University Networks Sapienza University and Chair of the meeting, said: “The issue of mental health is key because many migrants currently reaching Europe travel for a long time and are exposed to violence and traumatic events. Their number is small compared to the total number of forcibly displaced people in the world – over 68 million according to UNHCR. The concerns of many Europeans that they might lose their job, security and cultural identity are not justified. Instead, we know that migrants have been a very significant cultural and economic resource for the EU and other regions of the world. Moreover, it is an ethical imperative to help as much as possible other human beings who are fleeing from war, hunger, and dictatorships – as happened to many Europeans not so long ago. Facing the current ‘crisis of migrants’ and favoring their integration in the EU in good mental conditions is a serious challenge, but also an opportunity to remember our history and behave according to our values, further developing the extraordinary EU project.”



World Health Summit


World Health Summit 2018: Panel Discussion Migration and Refugee Health

Video recording Panel Discussion 01

Speakers: Mina Barling (IPPF) | Zsuzsanna Jakab (WHO) | Susanna Krüger (Save the Children Germany) | Karlee Silver (Grand Challenges Canada) | Elhadj As Sy (IFRC)

Chair: Hélène Boisjoly (University of Montreal)



World Health Summit 2017: Workshop Migration and Global Health Policy


Video recording Keynote

Speakers: Michael J. Klag (Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA) | Yves Daccord (Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross, Switzerland) | Ambassador William Lacy Swing (Director-General, International Organization for Migration, Switzerland) | Helle Thorning-Schmidt (CEO, Save the Children International, UK) | Florian Westphal (Managing Director, Médecins Sans Frontières, Germany)