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Improving care of migrants is key for viral hepatitis elimination in Europe

Abstract : By 2040, deaths from chronic viral hepatitis worldwide are projected to exceed those from human immunodeficiency virus infection, tuberculosis and malaria combined. The burden of this disease is predominantly carried by low-resource countries in Africa and Asia. In resource-rich countries, the epidemiological spread of viral hepatitis is partially driven by migrant movements from areas of high endemicity. In the last decade, Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area have experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants, which has resulted in the polarization of political views about migration. In addition, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has worsened the economic and health conditions of migrants and contributed to hostility to ensuring their health rights. Moreover, the implementation of hostile laws in some host nations has increased the vulnerability of marginalized migrant subgroups, such as asylum seekers and undocumented individuals. These developments have complicated the historical challenge of identifying high-risk migrant groups for screening and treatment. However, if European countries can apply the simplified assessment tools and diagnostic tests for viral hepatitis that have been used for decentralized screening and monitoring in resource-poor countries, the uptake of care by migrants could be dramatically increased. Given the global calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis, European nations should recognize the importance of treating this vulnerable migrant population. Political and health strategies need to be adapted to meet this challenge and help eliminate viral hepatitis globally.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 17, 2022 - 12:07:38 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 3:32:53 AM

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Jin Un Kim, Patrick Ingiliz, Yusuke Shimakawa, Maud Lemoine. Improving care of migrants is key for viral hepatitis elimination in Europe. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 2021, 99 (4), pp.280-286. ⟨10.2471/BLT.20.260919⟩. ⟨pasteur-03697812⟩

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