The World Health Students’ Alliance advocates for increased meaningful youth participation and considers the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health as an opportunity to express its opinion on migration and health, to harness the power of collaboration between students worldwide and to encourage youth involvement in Global Health. We are honored to present you this policy brief about Migration and Youth.
The World Health Students’ Alliance (WHSA) is the largest interprofessional healthcare alliance. The current Alliance is a partnership between the following organisations: the International Association of Dental Students (IADS), the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) and the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA). WHSA was established to bring together all healthcare students to share their experiences and to better address health challenges faced in society today. The partner organisations believe that as a very active part of society, students have the will and power to make the world a better place.
Migration and Health
The World Health Students’ Alliance partners, the leading international advocacy organisations for healthcare students, reaffirm the principle stated in WHO’s constitution: the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without any distinction. But even though this principle is widely recognized, migrants are still exposed to circumstances which greatly impair their health. The health of migrants is a growing challenge, as they are more vulnerable to physical and mental health threats, and they have a limited access to health services.
Human rights-based approach should be the integral part of any migration policy, with particular focus on access to basic social services, including healthcare, education, legal recognition and safe and legal travel routes. Today, there are around 244 million migrants in the world, composed of a diverse mosaic of individuals with different age, gender, background and social status. Women, girls, children and youth, elderly, migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, stateless people, LGBTQI people, disabled people, people with connections to particular political or social movements or ethnic minorities – these are just some of the population groups which often remain neglected and suffering, without access to health services. Each of these minorities face specific challenges during the migration process, and have specific health and social needs to be addressed.
The Alliance’s role in helping and supporting Migrants
IFMSA believes that its members have a global responsibility to respond to the needs of migrants and refugees and actively advocate and work to ensure the best attainable standard of health for all. Through various programs, projects and workshops, IFMSA builds the capacity of future health professionals and equips them with skills, tools and abilities to provide dignified, non-discriminatory and migrants-inclusive health care. We raise the voice of medical students about migration and related topics, actively advocating for migrants’ rights and health in the international global health arena.
One of the main goals of IADS is to enhance global awareness of oral diseases and ensure a high standard of dental care for all. Our association organises various volunteering projects, dental camps and global campaigns destined to provide education and healthcare to all inhabitants on a non-discriminatory basis. We strongly imply raising awareness among our students about migration-related topics and issues in the world. Active work is being done to improve the standard of health for migrants globally and tackle various issues via campaigning for basic human rights.
IPSF values the human dignity and made of its mission to advocate for improvements to health systems and respond to global challenges in health. We believe and strongly make a call that health for migrants and refugees should get more and focused attention. Our current Policy work is framed around the need for further investment needed to strengthen health systems aiming to respond to not only the physical needs but also the mental needs of adolescents migrants subject to psychological trauma consequently affecting their ability to integrate into societies and reducing their quality of life.
In our pursuit of benefiting the animals and humans of the world, IVSA believes in equal opportunities and advocating for the rights of all animals and humans. We pursue all our aims without discrimination, and strongly believe in using our veterinary knowledge and abilities to provide good healthcare, improve veterinary education globally, and support education, particularly where education is less accessible. To that end, we work on collaborations with other health students to ensure equal rights and accessibility for all people.
Call for Action
Youth migrants are usually affected the most by various consequences of migration. Despite the specific challenges they face during migration process, young people are the most powerful actors of change within their communities.
The World Health Students’ Alliance reinforces the call of youth migrants by adding the voices of health students all over the world, pledged to voice the stance of health students on migration and health related topic. Young people from all regions around the world are devoted to fight for human rights, equality and access to health care.
The four student organizations in this alliance are committed to advocate for the best attainable standard of healthcare for migrants, to improve the culture and practices related to provision of health care and to facilitate meaningful youth participation in related activities. Youth participation in processes leading up to Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and a Global Compact for Refugees is an integral part of a constructive and sustainable approach towards these challenges.
This Global Consultation and upcoming processes present important milestones and unique opportunities to incorporate and involve youth actors on the health of migrants. WHSA wishes to advance migrant-inclusive policy development, promote and support implementation of relevant instruments, build the capacity of health students to learn best practices and culturally sensitive provision of health care, and by all these means to create a better future for all migrants around the world.