International Alliance of Patients' Organizations

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
12.4 Promoting the health of refugees and migrants

The International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) is an alliance of patient groups in official relationship with the WHO and representing the interests of patients worldwide. We have over 270 member organisations based in over 70 countries covering over 50 different disease areas.

We welcome the Secretariat’s report A72/25 Promoting the health of refugees and migrants Draft global action plan, 2019–2023 and WHO’s ongoing partnership with the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR to address migrants’ health through the development of regional and national health strategies promoting ongoing dialogue and cooperation among all Member States involved in the migratory process as an inter-agency, inter-regional and international cooperation.

IAPO, however, expresses concerns for the welfare and security of chronically ill migrant, displaced and refugee patients, especially child patients, whose health is at risk due discontinued health care and risk of abuse, violence, exploitation and discrimination. Global action on patient safety, Director General’s Report A72/26, should also integrate patient safety of displaced and refugee patients.

IAPO notes that despite the existence of ratified international human rights standards and conventions to protect the rights of migrant and refugee patients, including their right to health, many such patients lack access to safe and quality health care services and financial protection for health.

IAPO urges that Member States to develop and adopt coherent migrant-patient sensitive health policies that ensure equitable access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services regardless of status and without discrimination or stigmatisation, and to develop a culturally competent health workforce able to address the needs of such patients.

IAPO invites the Health Assembly to note this report and to consider the draft decision proposed.

Thank you for your attention