Advertisement

Refugee Crisis As a Potential Threat to Public Health

  • Raynichka Mihaylova-Garnizova
  • Vasil Garnizov
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series A: Chemistry and Biology book series (NAPSA)

Abstract

The refugee crisis in Europe continues to persist despite recent data, showing a drop in the number of refugees seeking asylum. The EU has called this as “an unprecedented displacement crisis” and has aimed at devising a comprehensive approach to tackle it, which has been widely criticized. Concerns about public healthcare aspects of the crisis have permanently entered the media and policy discourse even though no systematic association between migration and the importation of infectious diseases has been recorded. In this context, the literature has not filled the existing gap between discourse and evidence, and almost no publications with reliable empirical data exist, both thematic (epidemiology) and geographical (Eastern Europe and Bulgaria). Among the existing publications, the focus has been on TB and HIV (Odone et al., Euro J Public Health 25(3):506–512, 2015). In light of this, the aim of this research is to contribute to the debate by providing an overview of the refugee situation in Bulgaria, as a primary entry-point for refugees entering the EU. In order to achieve this, the article analyses the case of the refugee camp in city of Harmanly, close to the Bulgarian-Turkish border, and assesses the public health risks related to this specific situation. Based on a study of 128 patients with different symptoms we aim to draw wider implications about the linkages between public health and migration. The in-depth review of this specific case shows that both the probability and impact of migration on public health increases when the hosting country is relatively poor, the domestic public healthcare system is not efficient, and there is lack of trust in the government and public services. The study contributes to understanding better these risks in order to identify potential mitigation strategies in the region and the EU as a whole.

References

  1. 1.
    Alexander R (2017) Die Getriebenen: Merkel und die Flüchtlingspolitik: Report aus dem Innern der Macht. Siedler VerlagGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bagcchi S (2016) Cholera in Iraq strains the fragile state. Lancet Infect Dis 16:24–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bove V, Böhmelt T (2016). Does immigration induce terrorism? J Polit 78(2):572–588. doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/684679
  4. 4.
    Carballo M, Nerukar A (2001) Migration, refugees, and health risks. Emerg Infect Dis 7(3 Suppl):556–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    de Smalen AW, Ghorab H, Abd E, Ghany M, Hill-Cawthorne GA (2017) Refugees and antimicrobial resistance: a systematic review. Travel Med Infect Dis 15:23–28.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2016.12.001. Epub 2016 Dec 3. http://www.travelmedicinejournal.com/article/S1477-8939(16)30202-2/fulltext CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    EASO (2012) European Asylum Support Office. Annual report on the situation of Asylum in the European Union 2011 https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/Easo_Annual_Report_2011.pdf  https://doi.org/10.2847/15683
  7. 7.
    EASO (2013) European Asylum Support Office. Annual report on the situation of asylum in the European Union 2012. https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EASO_AnnualReport%202012.pdf. doi: https://doi.org/10.2847/38969
  8. 8.
    EASO (2014) European Asylum Support Office. Annual report on the situation of asylum in the European Union 2013. https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EASO%20Annual%20Report%202013.pdf. doi:  https://doi.org/10.2847/28516
  9. 9.
    EASO (2015) European Asylum Support Office. Annual report on the situation of asylum in the European Union 2014. https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/public/EASO-Annual-Report-2014.pdf doi: https://doi.org/10.2847/231335
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    ECDC (2014) European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Assessing the burden of key infectious diseases among migrant populations in the EU/EEA. Stockholm: ECDC, 2014. doi:  https://doi.org/10.2900/28792
  12. 12.
    EU (2016) European Commission. Joint communication to the EU parliament and the Council. Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats a European Union response. Brussels, 6.4.2016, JOIN (2016) 18 final. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52016JC0018
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    Lam E, McCarthy D, Brennan M (2015) Vaccine-preventable diseases in humanitarian emergencies among refugee and internally-displaced populations. Hum Vaccin Immunother 11(11):2015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mihaylova-Garnizova R, Plochev K (2013) Health case study – Bulgaria. In: Hunger R, Belojevic R (eds) Biopreparedness and public health, 1st edn. Springer, pp 75–89Google Scholar
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
    Morabia A, Benjamin GC (2015) The refugee crisis in the middle east and public health. Am J Public Health 105(12):2405–2406.  https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302929 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Permanand G, Krasnik A, Kluge H, McKee M (2016) Europe’s migration challenges: mounting an effective health system response. Eur J Pub Health 26(1):3–4.  https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckv249 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    SAR (2017) State Agency for Refugees with the Council of Ministers, Bulgaria. http://aref.government.bg/?cat=21. Accessed 1 Apr 2017
  20. 20.
    Schmid AP (2016) Links between terrorism and migration: an Exploration, ICCT Research Paper. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.19165/2016.1.04
  21. 21.
    Semenza JC, Carrillo-Santisteve P, Zeller H, Sandgren A et al (2016) Public health needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, 2015: infectious disease aspects. Eur J Pub Health 26(3):372–373.  https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckw023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Seychell M (2016) European parliament, Briefing. Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General of the European Commission Directorate for Health and Food Safety, The public health dimension of the European migrant crisis, January 2016. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/573908/EPRS_BRI(2016)573908_EN.pdf
  23. 23.
    Sharara SL, Kanj SS (2014) War and infectious diseases: challenges of the Syrian civil war. PLoS Pathog 10(11):e1004438.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004438 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    UNHCR (2016a) UN Agency for refugees. Winter Operations Cell – Daily Report, 9 March 2016: http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/download.php?id=840; https://data2.unhcr.org/fr/documents/download/47170
  25. 25.
    UNHCR – UN Agency for refugees (2014) Asylum trends 2013: levels and trends in industrialized countries. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    UNHCR – UN Agency for refugees (2015). World at war: UNHCR global trends: forced displacement in 2014. http://www.unhcr.org/556725e69.html. Assessed 15 Jan 2017
  27. 27.
    WHO (2015a). Bulgaria: assessing health-system capacity to manage sudden large influxes of migrants. Joint report on a mission of the Ministry of Health of Bulgaria and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/300402/Bulgaria-Assessment-Report-en.pdf
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
    WHO (2016b). Antimicrobial resistance. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/. Accessed 28 Sept 2016

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raynichka Mihaylova-Garnizova
    • 1
  • Vasil Garnizov
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Infectious DiseasesMilitary Medical AcademySofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyNew Bulgarian UniversitySofiaBulgaria

Personalised recommendations