International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 521–522 | Cite as

Thinking beyond borders: reconceptualising migration to better meet the needs of people in transit

  • James Smith


The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than 909,000 people crossed into Europe by sea in 2015 (IOM 2015). Driven by violence and conflict, political instability, and economic insecurity, hundreds of thousands of migrants and exiles now seek supposed safety in Europe’s southern states and neighbouring countries.

The international response to the mass movement of people within and beyond the Middle East and North Africa has further exposed an established friction between state priorities, international refugee law, humanitarian action, and the policies and praxis that define contemporary global public health. Discourse pertaining to migration has been shaped by a fixation on a particularly narrow interpretation of the refugee, and his or her needs, which in turn has been shaped by a political agenda that seeks to securitise the movement of people, and in turn frame migration as a threat to health, economic stability, and national sociocultural...


Asylum Seeker Communicable Disease Border Control Public Health Community Public Health Aspect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author would like to acknowledge the invaluable support of Dr Simukai Chigudu during the preparation of this paper. This paper is dedicated to all of those who have acted to relieve the suffering endured by so many during the ongoing refugee crisis.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study did not receive any external funding.

Ethics approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  2. 2.Junior Humanitarian NetworkLondonUK

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