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ApartTogether study assesses impact of COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and migrants

The World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out global research in order to better understand how refugees and migrants have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have been dealing with specific associated challenges.

The ApartTogether report presents the findings of this worldwide research. It is an advocacy brief, identifying the different impacts of the pandemic as experienced and reported by refugee and migrant individuals themselves. Over 30 000 individuals from almost all WHO member states were consulted.

The brief will be used to inform policy and decision-makers as they work to better support refugees and migrants during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, in collaboration with key UN partners.

Important initial findings detailed in the report include:

  • Refugee and migrant individuals most often cited a lack of financial means, fear of deportation, lack of availability of healthcare providers and uncertain entitlement to healthcare as reasons for not seeking assistance in cases of (suspected) COVID‑19 infection;
  • Respondents reported significant negative impact on their access to work, safety and financial means during the pandemic;
  • Non-governmental and civil society organisations (NGOs) play an essential role in the dissemination of accessible information on COVID-19 to refugees and migrants;
  • One in five respondents increased drug or alcohol use during the pandemic, and 50% experienced greater feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness;
  • Nearly 40% of those living on the streets or in insecure accommodation, as well as those who were unemployed at the time of responding, reported an increase in experiences of discrimination during the pandemic.

Recommendations for 'the way forward' are included in the conclusions of the report. These relate to the reduction of barriers to seeking healthcare for refugees and migrants, the increased accessibility of public health information and the introduction or improvement of measures to combat discrimination, isolation and deteriorating psychological health

This research is the result of collaboration between WHO regional offices, the UN System, and a network of research centres led by Ghent University (Belgium) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

Access the full report online here.

Attached file(s)
World Health Organization
Posted by:
Olivia Long (Migration Policy Group)