Strengthening an evidence base on policies and interventions for undocumented migrants in Europe [Pitch presentation]

Maria Lucia Specchia, Gualtiero Ricciardi, Paolo Parente, Chiara De Waure, Elena Azzolini, Emanuela Maria Frisicale, Adele Anna Teleman, Elisabetta De Vito, M. Favale, S. Severoni

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Background Undocumented migrants (UMs) are migrants without necessary documents and permits authorizing them to regularly stay in a country. According to estimates for 2002–2008, 1.9–3.8 million undocumented migrants live in the European Region. Their status may be considered an obstacle in accessing basic healthcare and social services, determining vulnerability to several health problems such as communicable diseases, occupational health hazards, poor mental health. Methods In response to the current refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, a systematic review of the best available scientific and grey literature was conducted to identify barriers to access to healthcare in order to design suitable policies that improve access to and quality of healthcare services for UMs. In particular two groups of 5 researchers carried out a review of available evidence, until August 2015, investigating the following databases or report sources: PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, Econlit, HEN, European Observatory, OECD.Results The research resulted in 122 articles, which highlighted several critical aspects in the access to and quality of healthcare services for UMs. They mostly only have access to emergency care across the European Region. Furthermore, formal and informal barriers in the access to healthcare were found. Formal barriers regarded entitlement to health whereas informal ones included language, culture and communication, lack of social network and of knowledge about the health care system organization. Finally, inconsistency and uncertainty in data collection were common across the European Region. Conclusions On the basis of the evidence strong efforts should be put in place in order to reconsider entitlement to health care; increase public awareness; plan systems to disseminate information; promote an intersectoral approach and cross-border cooperation; improve communication services; launch specific training programmes; collect routinely data on UMs health status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-218
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event9th European Public Health Conference “All for Health - Health for All” - Vienna
Duration: 9 Nov 201612 Nov 2016


  • Evidence
  • Interventions
  • Policies
  • Undocumented migrants


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