Ahead of the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) on 19 June in Luxembourg, a group of organisations including Doctors of the World – Médecins du monde International Network (MdM), the European Public Health Association (EPHA) and PICUM have sent an open letter to the EU Ministers of Health and to the cabinet of EU Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis.
The organisations call on Ministers of Health to ensure that evidence-based public health policies, human rights, and the health protection of the most vulnerable are at the heart of public health and migration policies.
They ask the Health Ministers to challenge EU and national policies on migration which undermine public health objectives, and use the tools available at European level to drive developments towards universal access to health care in the member states of the European Union.
According to data collected by MdM among the patients seen in their clinics across Europe in 2014, 54.2% of pregnant women had no access to antenatal care. Less than one out of every two children (42.5%) had been vaccinated against tetanus, and only about a third (34.5%) were vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella – well below coverage rate of the general population, which is around 90%.
The data shows that only 3% had migrated for health reasons and that 90.5% of chronically ill migrants did not know about their condition before coming to Europe proving that health tourism among destitute migrants is a myth.