The EQUI-HEALTH project (2013-2016) improved public health and increased the wellbeing of all by helping to provide appropriate healthcare to migrants, the Roma and other vulnerable groups entering and residing in the EU, including irregular migrants.
EQUI-HEALTH included a significant research component on migrant health, occupational health of border officials and public health, including screening practices and migrant health data collection.
For the purpose of the research, we developed a detailed research methodology to include desk review, key informant interviews, stakeholder consultations, field visits and participant observations in six EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Italy and Spain).
Co-financed by the European Commission, the project saw the participation and partnership with a wide variety of public health and migration authorities, the academia, international organizations and EU institutions.
The project is built around three components and resulted in the final conference.
- Southern EU borders
The main actors involved in the first component of EQUI-HEALTH were public sector actors, including law enforcement officials, non-health staff and health professionals.
Through multisectoral dialogues, national consultative meetings and training, EQUI-HEALTH aimed at increasing the understanding of migrant, public and occupational health, and enhance the capacity of public health authorities, law enforcement services and healthcare providers in promoting appropriate health care provision to migrants.
This project developed assessment tools and guidelines for health and public health services that were further refined to frame EQUI-HEALTH activities.
This component stemmed from previous similar actions raising awareness of health and border management, labour and detention such as “Increasing Public Health Safety Alongside the New Eastern European Border Line”.
Target countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal.
- Six Situational Assessment Reports on Migrant Health at the Southern EU borders to support EU Member States and accession countries in improving migrant health in detention and border facilities, collection of data and access to and provision of healthcare for migrants. The reports, compiled via desk review and field visits, collects regional and national publicly available reports, EU-funded projects, assessment tools, response planning and training materials in English and local languages. Read the Summary of Situational Assessment Reports. Read the Country Reports, also published on the Migration Health Research Portal.
- 11 National Consultative Committees to finalize the Situational Assessment Reports and support inter-institutional dialogue at the regional and national levels.
- A Report on the mechanism for data collection providing recommendations for standardized data collection, convened by an Expert Working Group from interested member states.
- A “Training package on Migration and Health for Health professionals and Law Enforcement Officers” based on regional peer reviews. More than 400 health professionals and law enforcement officers participated in Trainings of Trainers and national roll-out training sessions in Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta and Portugal to enhance their capacity to deliver medical services for migrants.
- Roma Health
The Roma Health component engaged with governmental and non-governmental groups to promote dialogue among key stakeholders and allow EU member states to better monitor, share and strengthen national approaches.
The activities aimed at reducing health inequalities faced by migrants, Roma and other vulnerable ethnic minority groups. The actions built on the 10 principles identified by the "EU Action for the Roma” initiative to which Roma inclusion policies and projects should adhere to.
Target countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
- Seven Progress Reports on the Implementation of the National Roma integration strategies to provide an analysis on their implementation and other national commitments in the healthcare sector. The findings were validated during 13 National Consultative Committees and are based on desk research, fieldwork and interviews with professionals working with Roma, health providers and civil society organizations, among others. The reports were elaborated for Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, also also available on the Migration Health Research Portal.
- A Regional Intervention on “Health Mediation and the Roma” to share national experiences over training curricula and discuss intercultural health mediation programmes.
- A short documentary on Roma Health Mediation filmed during four study visits to cover health mediation practices in Bulgaria, Belgium and France. The four study visits facilitated the sharing of experiences and allowed to observe the work of Roma health mediators and elaborate recommendations. The study visits were attended by mediators and coordinators of intercultural mediation programmes, representatives of Ministries of Health, Public health institutes and civil society organizations from Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and FYROM. The study visits were organized in partnership with the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, the Bulgarian National Network of Health Mediators, the French Association pour l'Accueil des Voyageurs, the Romanian National Institute for Public Health and the Spanish Center of Community Research and Action at the University of Seville.
- Bulgarian National Local Consultative Committee meetings were organized with local authorities, health mediators, representatives of health and social institutions, hospitals and Regional Health Inspectorates to support the health component of the National Roma Integration Strategies.
- The “Health Mediation models in the EU” report presents different mediation models together with case studies from each country.
- The EU Community Health Mediation Network website functions as a database for the exchange of materials and as a communication platform allowing regular exchange of information for the European Network of Community Health Mediators.
- Migrant Health
The third component of the project focused on improving access and appropriateness of health care services, health promotion and prevention measures of migrants. We systematized available information on national legal and policy frameworks in 30 country briefs and developed guidelines to foster a harmonized EU approach on access to health services for those in an irregular situation.
To promote synergies, EQUI HEALTH also provided a mechanism for continued collaboration and coordination at the regional and national levels with International Organizations, EU agencies, national authorities and the academia.
- The MIPEX Health Strand measures the equitability of policies relating to migrants’ entitlements to health services, accessibility of health services for migrants, responsiveness to migrants’ needs and measures to achieve change. The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) Health Strand supplements the existing seven strands and has been developed by IOM in collaboration with the COST ADAPT research network and the Migration Policy Group, for the 2015 edition. In addition, the 33 country reports provide aggregated information on national legal and policy frameworks. The Summary Report on the MIPEX Health Strand is available on the MIPEX website.
- The “Thematic Study on cost analysis of healthcare provision for irregular migrants and EU citizens without insurance” analyses economic costs related to the exclusion of irregular migrants from accessing the mainstream health care system. It was developed and implemented by the Center for Health and Migration Vienna (C-HM) under the overall guidance of the IOM Migration Health Unit of the Regional Office in Brussels. The study is available on the Migration Health Research Portal, together with an infographic on costs of exclusion from healthcare and the Policy Briefs on Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
- The “Recommendations on access to health services for migrants in an irregular situation: an expert consensus” based on the evaluation of existing models of healthcare provisions and the thematic study on cost analysis.
- Final Conference
Taking Stock: Joint Conference EQUI-HEALTH & ADAPT Projects
11 May 2016 – Lisbon, Portugal
The joint conference of the EQUI-HEALTH and COST ADAPT projects took place on 11 May 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. During the event, we presented the results of research on health care policies concerning migrants in 38 European countries and advocated for policy change across Europe to improve access to appropriate health care services for migrants in an irregular situation.
IOM and ADAPT presented two of the outcomes of their collaboration:
- The new Health strand in the Migrant Integration Policy Index (2015 edition), and
In the aftermath of the conference, EQUI-HEALTH also published the final report.