New websites on migration and Roma health

An estimated 73 million migrants and 10–12 million Roma live in the WHO European Region. The European health policy framework, Health 2020 calls for the creation of supportive environments and resilient communities as one of its four priority areas for policy action. Improving the conditions in which migrants and Roma populations live, grow, work and age is a key factor in improving their health and well-being, as well as reducing the health inequalities in the Region.

WHO/Europe has launched two new websites to share information about improving the health of both migrants and Roma populations.

Migration and health website

Since 2005, the number of migrants in the WHO European Region has increased by 5 million, bringing the estimated total to 73 million. Strengthening the health sector’s capacity to manage large influxes of migrants is a key factor in reducing health inequities.

WHO/Europe has established a new project, under the Health 2020 umbrella, to address the health challenges of migration. The Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe (PHAME) project assists Member States in strengthening their health sectors’ preparedness for and ability to adapt to increasing migration.

Created with the support of the Italian Ministry of Health, PHAME is based at WHO/Europe’s European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy.

The migration and health website is a platform for the sharing of knowledge and best practices on migrants’ health, and promotion of cross-national political dialogue on the issue.

Roma health website

With about 10–12 million Roma estimated to live in the WHO European Region, they represent one of the largest ethnic minority in the Region. There are significant inequities in health status and access to health care between Roma and majority populations. These are socially determined, driven by multifaceted processes of social exclusion that work both within and outside the health sector and are linked to discrimination due to Roma ethnicity.

Ensuring the rights and social inclusion of Roma is critical to improving their health and reducing health inequities in the Region. WHO/Europe joined the Decade of Roma Inclusion in 2011 and works with the European Commission and other United Nations agencies and partners to improve Roma’s living conditions.

To raise awareness of the unacceptable living conditions of Roma populations and to disseminate knowledge and expertise for improving their health, WHO/Europe’s programme on vulnerability and health created the Roma health website, and disseminates a quarterly newsletter.