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World report on the health of refugees and migrants

La version intégrale du rapport est disponible en anglais seulement; le résumé est disponible en plusieurs langues, y compris le français et l’anglais.

“It is hoped that inclusive and responsive public health systems will be developed in the near future, enabling the global community to consider refugees and migrants as integral parts of a thriving society. This will allow us to move from “refugee and migrant health” to “our health.” (p. 26, Summary Report) 

This global report defines key concepts, brings together literature and data on the health status and determinants of health for migrants and refugees, and lays out a framework for essential, urgent action for our shared health.

Determinants of health:

Displacement and migration are key determinants of health for migrants and refugees that influence other determinants of health and that require increased efforts from public health and other sectors to meet the health needs of migrants and refugees. Compared to non-migrants, refugees and migrants are structurally vulnerable to health issues and face greater barriers to health care. For example, lack of legal documentation, fear of deportation and anti-refugee and anti-migrant discourse are barriers to health care access for refugees and migrants, particularly irregular migrants and asylum seekers. 

Health needs:

While refugees and migrants are predominantly healthy, they have specific health needs — because of social and structural determinants of health before, during and after migration and displacement — that must be recognized and addressed. This report summarizes data about the health status of refugees and migrants in the areas of: 

  • occupational health, 
  • sexual and reproductive health,
  • maternal and child health,
  • noncommunicable diseases, 
  • mental health,
  • communicable diseases, and
  • COVID-19.

Framework for action:

This report includes good practice, case studies and opportunities for collective responses that can be taken by public health organizations in partnership with refugees and migrants to advance health for all. The report states that addressing global and local health inequities requires improving access to health care, health promotion and prevention services for refugees and migrants, and addressing structural and social determinants beyond the health system. Action to fully integrate refugees and migrants, regardless of legal status, into universal health coverage and primary health care needs to be guided by health equity principles and the right to health.


Use this resource to:

  • reorient health programs and systems to be inclusive of and responsive to refugees and migrants, with refugees and migrants as active partners
  • partner with refugees and migrants to address root causes of health inequities that fall beyond the health system
  • unmask and challenge harmful “us versus them” discussions in policy-making and society that “other” refugees and migrants, and advance transformative messages about our collective health that is inclusive of refugees and migrants


Alignment with NCCDH work:

Immigration status is a foundational determinant of health. The NCCDH is building a repertoire of resources focusing on this determinant and guiding public health to take action on health inequities experienced by the migrant population in Canada.


Related Resources:


Immigration status as the foundational determinant of health for people without status in Canada: A scoping review

Disrupting migrant work (Mind the Disruption, Season 1, Episode 4)

Related organization: Migrant Rights Network


See other resources on immigration and health equity.



World Health Organization. (2022). World report on the health of refugees and migrants.

Tags: Immigration, Leadership & capacity building, Structural determinants, Public Health Organization, Document, Report / Document