Migrant children—a challenge for European paediatricians


Anders Hjern, Centre for Epidemiology, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, SE-106 30 Stockholm, Sweden (Fax. +46 8 55 55 33 27, e-mail. anders.hjern@sos.se)


Each year, tens of thousands of children seek asylum in Europe. Irregular immigration, family reunification programmes and labour migrants contribute additional large populations to the migrant scene in Europe. Paediatricians struggle to find solutions to their needs of health and medical care within different societal and political contexts on a common platform of children's rights and medical ethics.

Conclusions: Migrant children have important health and protection needs. Paediatricians can improve the health and well-being of migrant children by assuring access to paediatric healthcare regardless of the child's legal status. Paediatricians can play an important role in advocating for migrant children in their local community, through concerted activities of national paediatric societies, and through the international paediatric community. National paediatric societies need to put migrant children high on their agenda in discussions with policy and decision makers. Initiatives are needed to create platforms within the international paediatric community where practical strategies to the multitude of issues touched upon by migrant children can be exchanged and international advocacy organized.