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Health Policy. 2012 Apr;105(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.01.003. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Monitoring migrant health in Europe: a narrative review of data collection practices.

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  • 1European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK.



Data on the health of migrants, including on health determinants and access to health services, are an essential pre-condition for providing appropriate and accessible health services to this population group. This article reviews how far current data collection systems in the European Union (EU) allow to monitor migrant health.


We searched the academic literature using PubMed and reviewed the results of recent EU-funded research projects on migrant health.


Most EU member states lack information on the health of migrants, limiting the possibility for monitoring and improving migrant health. National death registers allow for disaggregation according to migrant status in 24 of 27 EU member states. Registry data on health care utilization by migrant status are available in only 11 of 27 member states, although in most cases this only covers secondary and not primary care. Only few countries collect large-scale survey data on migrant health and health care utilization.


Many EU countries need to step up their organizational and regulatory efforts to monitor migrant health if the current lack of data on migrant health should be overcome. This could be done through the inclusion of improved questions on migration in existing data collection processes.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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