Introduction: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is characterised by high and complex migration flows, yet little is known about the health of migrant populations, their levels of under-immunisation, and access to healthcare provision. Data are needed to support regional elimination and control targets for key diseases and the design and delivery of programmes to improve health outcomes in these groups.
Malaysia had its first four patients with COVID-19 on 25 January 2020. In the same week, the World Health Organization declared it as a public health emergency of international concern. The pandemic has since challenged the ethics and practice of medicine. There is palpable tension from the conflict of interest between public health initiatives and individual’s rights. Ensuring equitable care and distribution of health resources for patients with and without COVID-19 is a recurring ethical challenge for clinicians.
The CoVID-19 epidemic started in Wuhan, China and spread to 217 other countries around the world through direct contact with patients, goods transfer, animal transport, and touching unclean surfaces. In the Middle East, the first confirmed case in both Iran and UAE originated from China. A series of infections since those confirmed cases started in the Middle East originated from Qom, Iran, and other Shi'ite holy places. Thereafter, CoVID-19 has been transmitted to other countries in the Middle East.
[No abstract available]
Background: The WHO Region for the Eastern Mediterranean has had a history of complex migration patterns, with
high levels of migration to, from, and within the Region, overlaid by massive recent forced displacement. Relatively little
is known about the health system response to this large-scale mobility.
Aims: To review the literature on the Region critically, identify gaps, and suggest areas needing research and policy attention.
This desk review of the medical (or health) diaspora originating from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region was conducted jointly by the Department of Health Systems Development at the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO EMRO) and the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) MENA Regional Office, both in Cairo.
As COVID-19 vaccine roll-out begins in the MENA region, ensuring migrant populations have equitable access to the vaccine, designing innovative and specific mechanisms for vaccine roll-out in these areas, and monitoring vaccine uptake in migrant groups are now imminent challenges.
The editorial argues that failure to integrate migration variables within the health information systems in many countries in the MENA region means that, to date, there has been an absence of comprehensive and disaggregated epidemiological data on infectious disease prevalence (including COVID-19), outbreaks, and vaccine coverage, making it difficult to map health disparities and inform evidence-based policy and service delivery.