migrants

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

Migration has been a hot topic for a few years now. Among many myths against them, one of the most popular is that they bring diseases with them and spread it across the whole nation like wildfire. But a new study revealed that it’s far from the truth. In fact, immigrants make up a significant portion of the healthcare workforces in countries they move to.

A team of experts consisting of 24 commissioners worked on a two-year project to analyze whether migration spreads disease and to look into the effects that migrants have on health. The study was published in the Lancet medical journal.

According to the study, people are using myths to fight migration.

“In too many countries, the issue of migration is used to divide societies and advance a populist agenda,” said Lancet editor Richard Horton.

“With one billion people on the move today, growing populations in many regions of the world, and the rising aspirations of a new generation of young people, migration is not going away. Migrants commonly contribute more to the economy than they cost, and how we shape their health and well-being today will impact our societies for generations to come.”

There is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease,” said Dr. Paul Spiegel, who directs the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and is one of the experts who did the study. “That is a false argument that is used to keep migrants out,” Spiegel told NBC News.

“Contrary to the current political narrative portraying migrants as disease carriers who are a blight on society, migrants are an essential part of economic stability in the U.S.,” added Terry McGovern, who heads Columbia University’s Department of Population and Family Health and is also one of the experts.

The study reported that the migrants are less at risk of heart diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, and other health problems compared to the native people of that country. Hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV are some of the exceptions but these diseases only spread within the immigrant communities and not to the wide population.

The diseases among immigrants are caused by conditions in refugee camps and detention centres and undervaccination. “It’s not migrants or migration itself that is spreading disease. It may be the situations that they are in and the lack of access to basic care that may exacerbate the situation,” said Spiegel.

The report has clearly established that discriminating against immigrants on the basis of them carrying diseases to other countries is a pure myth. They are an essential part of the nation. A big portion of the workforce in many countries usually consists of immigrants. They contribute a huge chunk to the economy of a country.

Photo credits- Veteran Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon

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