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Children on the move in Europe: a narrative review of the evidence on the health risks, health needs and health policy for asylum seeking, refugee and undocumented children
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1645-2058
2019 (English)In: BMJ Paediatrics Open, ISSN 2399-9772, Vol. 3, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Europe has experienced a marked increase in the number of children on the move. The evidence on the health risks and needs of migrant children is primarily from North America and Australia.

Objective: To summarise the literature and identify the major knowledge gaps on the health risks and needs of asylum seeking, refugee and undocumented children in Europe in the early period after arrival, and the ways in which European health policies respond to these risks and needs.

Design: Literature searches were undertaken in PubMed and EMBASE for studies on migrant child health in Europe from 1 January 2007 to 8 August 2017. The database searches were complemented by hand searches for peer-reviewed papers and grey literature reports.

Results: The health needs of children on the move in Europe are highly heterogeneous and depend on the conditions before travel, during the journey and after arrival in the country of destination. Although the bulk of the recent evidence from Europe is on communicable diseases, the major health risks for this group are in the domain of mental health, where evidence regarding effective interventions is scarce. Health policies across EU and EES member states vary widely, and children on the move in Europe continue to face structural, financial, language and cultural barriers in access to care that affect child healthcare and outcomes.

Conclusions: Asylum seeking, refugee and undocumented children in Europe have significant health risks and needs that differ from children in the local population. Major knowledge gaps were identified regarding interventions and policies to treat and to promote the health and well-being of children on the move.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 3, no 1
Keywords [en]
children’s rights, general paediatrics
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173628DOI: 10.1136/bmjpo-2018-000364PubMedID: 30815582OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173628DiVA, id: diva2:1354907
Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-09-26 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved

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