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Editorials Migration and Health

Improving the health of migrants

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 16 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5324

Migration and health

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A scrolling story introducing the main health problems faced by migrants

Rapid Response:

Re: Improving the health of migrants

Good health planning, locally and internationally, should include the health of very large numbers of Migrant workers and smaller numbers of people seeking Asylum from persecution. BMJ readers should also consider a third group of people crossing borders: to flee extreme weather and other disastrous consequences of climate change. The UN now recognises that millions of people are 'displaced' by the climate crisis, but it resists using the term 'refugee' because it potentially complicates legal issues around granting Asylum. Nonetheless, for everyday planning, climate refugees exist, they have unmet health needs, and their numbers are increasing.[1] The European Parliament now recognises a distinct new population.[2] I would recommend we employ all our population sciences to anticipate and address the Public Health of this growing population.....

[1] Caan W. An unhealthy planet creates climate refugees. So What? 2017; 9: 6-7. 
(accessed 16 September at

[2] European Parliamentary Research Service. The concept of 'climate refugee’. European Parliament, Brussels, 2019 (accessed 17 September at )

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 September 2019
Woody Caan
Immigrant who has moved between 4 continents, so far
Duxford, Cambridge