Home » India among top 3 host countries of international migrants in South-East Asia region in 2020: WHO

India among top 3 host countries of international migrants in South-East Asia region in 2020: WHO

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oi-Madhuri Adnal

| Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 23:25 [IST]

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United Nations, July 20: India was among the top three host countries of international migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the South-East Asia region in 2020, a global report by the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

The first WHO World report on the health of refugees and migrants said that today about one in eight people in the world, some one billion, are migrants.

India among top 3 host countries of international migrants in South-East Asia region in 2020: WHO

"This report is the first to offer a global review of refugee and migrant health; it calls for urgent and collective action to ensure they can access health care services that are sensitive to their needs. It also illustrates the pressing need to address the root causes of ill health and to radically reorient health systems to respond to a world increasingly in motion," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The report said that India, Bangladesh and Thailand were the top three host countries of international migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the South-East Asia Region in 2020.

In India, international migrants at 4,878,704 constituted 0.4 per cent of total population. Of this percentage of international migrants in India, 4.2 per cent were refugees and asylum seekers (207,334).

The report added that migration towards North America remains prominent, mostly from other parts of the Americas, as well as from Asia (notably China, India and the Philippines).

The United States of America is the largest recipient of migrants worldwide, with 18 per cent of total global migrants (51 million) in 2020.

"The largest migration corridor in the world is between the United States and Mexico, which is a key country of origin, transit and destination," it said.

The report also said that the South-East Asia region sends migrants to other areas, particularly to North America, Europe, countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Australasia.

Flows of international migration include movement from Myanmar to Thailand, from Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to India and from many of the region's countries to the Maldives.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are the biggest refugee group, with close to 1 million living in Bangladesh. There are smaller groups of refugees from Myanmar on the Thailand-Myanmar border, Sri Lankans in India, and Bhutanese in Nepal, with diverse refugees in Indonesia waiting to go to Australia.

The report added that a study in the United Arab Emirates found that the prevalence of hypertension among migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan (30.5 per cent) was much higher than that for the local population (14.0 per cent); further, 76 per cent of migrants classified as hypertensive were not aware of their condition.

Another study conducted in the United States among a diverse sample of migrants found that those from south-east Asia and the Russian Federation had the highest prevalence of hypertension. It said migrants from India and from Caribbean and Central American countries had the highest prevalence of overweight/ obesity; migrants from Africa and the Middle East had the highest prevalence of diabetes; and migrants from Europe had the lowest prevalence of all three conditions, demonstrating the importance of tailoring interventions for migrants with different countries of origin and ethnic diversities.

It added that Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India live in remote and rural camps that are distant from health services; they also reported delays in receiving benefits from health coverage schemes because of complicated application procedures.

The report reiterates that the experience of migration and displacement is a key factor in a person's health and wellbeing, especially when combined with other determinants.

For example, a recent meta-analysis of more than 17 million participants from 16 countries across five WHO regions found that, compared with non-migrant workers, migrant workers were less likely to use health services and more likely to have an occupational injury.

Evidence also showed that a significant number of the 169 million migrant workers globally are engaged in dirty, dangerous, and demanding jobs and are at greater risk of occupational accidents, injuries, and work-related health problems than their non-migrant counterparts, conditions exacerbated by their often limited or restricted access to and use of health services.

"It is imperative that we do more on refugees and migrants' health but if we want to change the status quo, we need urgent investments to improve the quality, relevance and completeness of health data on refugees and migrants.

We need sound data collection and monitoring systems that truly represent the diversity of the world population and the experience that refugees and migrants face the world over and that can guide more effective policies and interventions," said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO's Deputy Director-General.

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Story first published: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 23:25 [IST]

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