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4Asylum seekers in Europe

Asylum seekers in Europe


Current situation-Facts

In the year 2015, more than 1.2 million sought for asylum in the known 28 member states of European Union (EU), Switzerland as well as Norway. Even today, Countries like Kosovo and Albania, found in the eastern part of EU are the major contributors of people seeking for asylum in European countries, mainly Norway and Switzerland (Connor, 2016). However, more than half of refuges found in Europe come from three major nations namely; Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Thousands of people have fled from these states to seek for asylum in Europe as a result of conflicts which have affected them for very long times (Connor, 2016).

Presentation of one health issue affecting asylums

HIV infection and hepatitis

Disruption of HIV services often arises out conflicts. However, among the people who flee to EU from Middle East and parts of North Africa, HIV infection is relatively low (Baser, 2015). This therefore implies that HIV being brought to EU from these two groups is lowly placed in terms of risk. Among individuals living with HIV in European nations, the proportion of asylums varies with regions, with an estimate of around 10% being from central Europe and 40% being from northern part of Europe. However, in the western part of Europe, the proportion of asylums living with HIV ranges between 20%-40% (Migration and health: Key issues, 2016). Research however shows that in as much as the level of HIV infection has reduced in the recent past, of new HIV infection cases in European nations, asylums still constitute over 35%. Research further shows that most of them get infected after arriving in most European nations (Råssjö et al., 2013).

Discussion on health issues

Similar to other elements of a population, asylums face a number of health issues affecting them and they are left struggling to fight for them. Most of the health issues affecting include injuries resulting from accidents, Hypothermia, Gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular illnesses, pregnancy related complications, hypertension among others (Råssjö et al., 2013). Similarly, asylums face challenges resulting from movements from their countries of origin to EU. Some of these challenges include development of psychosocial disorders, increased rate of new born mortality, violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and reproductive related issues (Bradby et al., 2015). All these challenges raise their exposure to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Consequently, the problem that arises out of high risk exposure to NCDs is accessibility to medical care (Migration and health: Key issues, 2016).

WHO policy guidelines

One of the most important WHO’s policy guideline is to Improve accessibility to health services by eliminating un-necessary restrictions. Asylums face a number of challenges as have been highlighted in the essay. Therefore, with an attempt to reduce health related issues, WHO has developed guideline policies ranging from how to foster communication to improvement of health services for Women and children (Bradby et al., 2015)

Organizations working with asylums

Word Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is a known non-governmental organization which deals with development of health issues globally. WHO works on ensuring that there is improved and efficient access of medical services by asylum seekers. Similarly, WHO champion for the development of mechanisms that improve communication between asylums and residents (Bradby et al., 2015).

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

With the increasing number of asylums and migrants seeking for refuge in European nations, there has been need to accommodate and protect them. In their desperate search for peace and stability in European nations, most of the asylums risk by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, resulting to increased cases of death. One of UNHCR’s core functions is to ensure that there is safety in the process of crossing the sea and those asylums are warmly and decently received and accommodated in Europe (UNHCR global report 2015 — Europe, 2001)


  1. Work on restoring peace in Middle East to reduce the number citizens seeking for asylum from these nations

  2. Educate asylums on the importance of maintaining heath and the need to use protection to lower HIV infection rate.

  3. Offer intensive counseling to reduce mental illnesses as a result of exposure to extreme conditions


Baser, B 2015, ‘The Oxford handbook of refugee & forced migration studies (by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long and Nando Sigona (eds.) book Review’, Review of Social Studies, 2(1), pp. 119–123.

Bradby, H., Humphris, R., Newall, D. and Phillimore, J 2015, Public health aspects of migrant health: A review of the evidence on health status for refugees and asylum seekers in the European region health evidence network synthesis report 44. Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2016).

Connor, P 2016, Number of refugees to Europe surges to record 1.3 Million in 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2016). 

Migration and health: Key issues 2016 Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2016).

Råssjö, E.B., Byrskog, U., Samir, R. and Klingberg-Allvin, M 2013, ‘Somali women’s use of maternity health services and the outcome of their pregnancies: A descriptive study comparing Somali immigrants with native-born Swedish women’, Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, 4(3), pp. 99–106.

UNHCR global report 2015 — Europe 2001, Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2016).