Migrants face problems when it comes to health care. Mainly myths

The issues include finding a general practitioner and securing health insurance.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

“Every country is responsible for its own citizens, but also for migrants,” said Eva Grey, head of the Social Work Institute of the College of Health Care and Social Work of St Elizabeth, at the late November scientific conference.

Its main focus was health care for migrants and the challenges countries face in securing the medical treatment of foreigners who come to Slovakia from non-EU countries as refugees or migrate for other reasons, most often work.

It is often hard to persuade doctors to treat migrants since they harbour various fears: that the migrants could import an “exotic” disease or that the health insurer will not reimburse them for the treatment.

Read also:Busting myths: The risk of migrants importing dangerous diseases is low Read more 

Still, the conference participants stressed that it is important to secure complex health care for migrants, even though there are still challenges to be tackled.

“Health is a fundamental human right,” Grey stressed.

The most common myths

The fear that refugees bring infections and “exotic” diseases is the most widespread myth when it comes to migrants and health care.

In reality, the risk of importing epidemic infections, like Ebola or MERS, is higher in people travelling to risky destinations for work or holidays rather than refugees, said Zora Brucháčová, former chief doctor of the Interior Ministry, who has been dealing with refugees and asylum seekers for years.

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