Supporting access to healthcare for refugees and migrants in European countries under particular migratory pressure

Antonio Chiarenza, Marie Dauvrin, Valentina Chiesa, Sonia Baatout, Hans Verrept

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In 2015 the increased migratory pressure in Europe posed additional challenges for healthcare providers. The aim of this study was to inform the development of a "Resource Package" to support European Union (EU) member states in improving access to healthcare for refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants. Methods: A mixed method approach was adopted: i) interviews and focus groups were carried out to gather up-to-date information on the challenges the different healthcare providers were facing related to the refugee crisis; ii) to complement the results of the FGs, a literature review was conducted to collect available evidence on barriers and solutions related to access to healthcare for refugees and migrants. Results: The different actors providing healthcare for refugees and migrants faced challenges related to the phases of the migration trajectory: arrival, transit and destination. These challenges impacted on the accessibility of healthcare services due to legislative, financial and administrative barriers; lack of interpretation and cultural mediation services; lack of reliable information on the illness and health history of migrant patients; lack of knowledge of entitlements and available services; lack of organisation and coordination between services. These barriers proved particularly problematic for access to specific services: mental health, sexual and reproductive care, child & adolescent care and victim of violence care. Conclusions: The findings of this study show that solutions that are aimed only at responding to emergencies often lead to fragmented and chaotic interventions, devolving attention from the need to develop structural changes in the EU health systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number513
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 23 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Asylum seekers
  • Europe
  • Health services accessibility
  • Irregular migrants
  • Migrants
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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