Migrant health – current challenges and perspectives

Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world and is currently hosting just over 190,000 refugees from the current conflict in Yemen. In March 2018, Harriet Blundell from the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group attended a 3-day workshop on migrant health in Muscat, Oman. The overall aim of the workshop was to discuss the impact of migration on global health systems and consider how to best address the current challenges, with a specific focus on the Gulf States and Eastern Mediterranean Region. 

Speakers and attendees from border hospitals in the Dhofar region, in the south of Oman, shared their experiences and challenges of managing this population, from a public health perspective. The workshop attracted over 140 professionals from 28 countries and included presentations from 27 technical experts. 

In terms of guideline development, the focus of Harriet’s current project at the CIDG, of interest was the current research by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) to develop evidence-based guidelines for the screening of migrants. This has been challenging because of the paucity of evidence available in this area and the poor differentiation of key population groups within primary research, for example between economic migrants and refugee populations. 

Harriet’s attendance at the workshop was supported by a young scientist attendance grant from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID).