Ministers and senior representatives of Member States in the European Region will meet to discuss the numerous public health challenges posed by large-scale movements of refugees and migrants to transit and destination countries. These range from management of communicable and noncommunicable diseases to the impact of large-scale migration on health systems.

Given the inter-regional relevance of this topic, ministers from the main countries of origin and of transit of refugees and migrants – in the Eastern Mediterranean and African regions – are also invited. WHO participants will include representatives from those two regional offices and from headquarters.
Representatives of the European Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Children's Fund among other international organizations will also participate.

Challenges for public health and health systems

When the health systems of host countries are not fully prepared, responding quickly and efficiently to arrivals of large groups of people can be complex, resource-intensive and potentially socially disruptive. This high-level meeting will provide an opportunity to define the main public health and health-system challenges, needs and priorities in the European Region and serve as a platform for sharing experience and good practice.

The objective of this meeting is to move towards a shared understanding of refugee and migrant health. Representatives of WHO/Europe will seek to understand how best to support European Member States in responding to the public health challenges posed by migration. After the meeting, a report and an outcome document will be published and subsequently used to prepare regional policy documents on refugee and migrant health in order to provide more targeted support to Member States.