Migrants and emerging public health issues in a globalized world: threats, risks and challenges, an evidence-based framework

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Gushulak, BD ; Weekers, J ; MacPherson, DW (2011)

International population mobility is an underlying factor in the emergence of public health threats and risks that must be managed globally. These risks are often related, but not limited, to transmissible pathogens. Mobile populations can link zones of disease emergence to lowprevalence or nonendemic areas through rapid or high-volume international movements, or both. Against this background of human movement, other global processes such as economics, trade, transportation, environment and climate change, as well as civil security influence the health impacts of disease emergence. Concurrently, global information systems, together with regulatory frameworks for disease surveillance and reporting, affect organizational and public awareness of events of potential public health significance. International regulations directed at disease mitigation and control have not kept pace with the growing challenges associated with the volume, speed, diversity, and disparity of modern patterns of human movement. The thesis that human population mobility is itself a major determinant of global public health is supported in this article by review of the published literature from the perspective of determinants of health (such as genetics/biology, behavior, environment, and socioeconomics), population-based disease prevalence differences, existing national and international health policies and regulations, as well as inter-regional shifts in population demographics and health outcomes. This paper highlights some of the emerging threats and risks to public health, identifies gaps in existing frameworks to manage health issues associated with migration, and suggests changes in approach to population mobility, globalization, and public health. The proposed integrated approach includes a broad spectrum of stakeholders ranging from individual health-care providers to policy makers and international organizations that are primarily involved in global health management, or are influenced by global health events.(Published:31 March 2010)Citation:Emerging Health Threats Journal 2010, 2:e10. doi: 10.3134/ehtj.09.010
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