Public Health Inclusion

According to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right for a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care”.

Provision of health care services is both necessary and expensive. Some countries, such as Canada, Cuba or Sweden, highly regard nationalized programs where access is readily available based on residence or citizenship. Other countries rely upon privatized health care delivery, supplemented by insurance (US). In these cases, the uninsured can be denied access to health care. In many cities of the world, immigrants do not necessarily receive coverage under nationalized or privatized health care schemes and struggle to benefit from affordable healthcare through public clinics or other forms of state-subsidized care.

What can be done?
Access to health care is a need shared by all, but many immigrants struggle to secure affordable healthcare or health insurance. This is especially true for low-skilled migrants who are often found in low-wage and dangerous jobs where employers do not provide any health care plan.

Example of good practice

Ventanillas de Salud, Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME), Mexico/USA
This program was created to serve the large and medically needy Mexican immigrant population in the USA (some 12 millions). It began in 2003 in southern California, and the program has expanded so much that all the Mexican consulates now provide health information and screening to their citizens abroad. Health stations have three goals: (1) to provide local health care referrals and appointments; (2) to enroll eligible adults and children in federal, state, and local public health programs; and (3) to provide information on health issues relevant to the Mexican migrant community. The consular staff does not provide health service but work with local non-profits or public agencies to create the Ventanillas within or near the consular offices. The partner agencies manage all daily operations such as immunization, screenings, health education and referrals to health services in the USA and Mexico. This is a creative international partnership with governmental and non-governmental agencies meant to find a way to secure better health comes, and therefore better inclusion, for a large immigrant group in the USA.

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