Oliver Razum

Migration and health: of access barriers and entitlement restrictions

All residents of Germany should have equal access to health care and equal chances of successful treatment. This also applies to the increasing number of immigrants and their offspring as well as to refugees and asylum seekers. However, these population groups face various barriers when accessing health care. To make health care in Germany more equitable there is a need for equal entitlements and for an intercultural opening of health services.

Based on epidemiological and health services data I demonstrate achievements and shortcomings in this regard. While there are equal outcomes for immigrants and non-immigrants e.g. in pregnancy care in urban areas, cultural and language barriers persist in fields such as rehabilitative care. Asylum seekers and refugees not only face these barriers but in addition restricted entitlements to care. This is not only an ethical issue but also leads to increased cost of health care. Finally, I argue that the health of refugees requires a perspective transcending national borders.