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.
It is estimated that there are more than 250 million international migrants, representing about 3.5% of the world’s population. Ensuring health and preventive services for physical and mental health, as well as aid, is a strong priority.
WHPA welcomes the draft Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles to promote the health of refugees and migrants developed further to the 140th Executive Board decision. We 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 threat. Therefore, we consider it critical to ensure full access to quality healthcare as well as safe and adequate living conditions for all, regardless of migration status.
We urge WHO to provide assistance to Member States to implement the priorities, in particular the development of migrant-sensitive health policies and of legal and 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).
We wish to highlight that health professionals have a duty to provide appropriate healthcare, regardless of the civil or political status of the individual. The right to receive medical care should be based on need and health professionals must be allowed adequate time and sufficient resources to assess the physical and psychological condition of MRDPs.
WHPA will continue to actively encourage health professionals to support and promote the right of all people to receive healthcare and speak out against legislation and practices that are in opposition to this fundamental right.