Honorable Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates,
I am representing the World Medical Association and speak on behalf of World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), representing over 26 million nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, dentists, and physicians in over 130 countries.
Considering that there is an estimated more than 244 million international migrants, representing about 3.5% of the world’s population, ensuring health services and aid as well as preventing potentially very harmful effects to mental and physical health emerge as strong priorities.
WHPA welcomes WHO’s efforts in promoting migrant health and wish to highlight that late or denied treatment is discriminatory and contravenes a fundamental human right. Refusing to provide healthcare is not only ethically wrong, it poses a serious public health risk.
We urge WHO to provide assistance to Member States to implement the priorities stated in the report, in particular the development of migrant-sensitive health policies and multilateral social protection agreements with the inclusion of healthcare benefits. Furthermore, the development of a global migration and health strategy now emerges as a priority given the increasing trend in numbers of migrants, refugees, and displaced people (MRDPs).
The WHPA urges governments and local authorities to ensure access to adequate healthcare as well as safe and adequate living conditions for all, regardless of their migration status.
We believe that health professionals have a duty to provide appropriate medical care, regardless of the civil or political status of the individual. The right to receive medical care should be based only on need and health professionals must be allowed adequate time and sufficient resources to assess the physical and psychological condition of MRDPs.
The WHPA will continue to actively encourage health professionals to support and promote the right of all people to receive medical care and speak out against legislation and practices that are in opposition to this fundamental right.