We are pleased to bring you the January 2017 edition of the NPHR. In this issue we focus on access to health for victims of forced migrations, a timely and imperative conversation in light of current global events. Forced migration can be precipitated by diverse events ranging from environmental emergencies such as tsunamis or earthquakes, to economic crises, to political conflict and full-scale war. Despite the diverse drivers of displacement, one element remains constant; displaced populations endure genuine fear for their health and safety as they seek shelter and opportunity to begin their lives again elsewhere.
We began with a fundamental premise that access to health is a human right for everyone, everywhere. However many migrants, particularly those for whom an emergency precipitated their flight from home, find themselves with severely limited access to health services. Their plight is further confounded by economic, legal, and cultural factors often inherent in the refugee status. Thus, we asked: what unique health needs do the victims of forced migration face; what infrastructure exists to ensure their right to basic health; and how can these resources be improved upon?
To better understand these challenges, our authors highlight the physical and mental health needs that displaced populations experience. These articles investigate policies, infrastructures, and resources essential to refugee access to health, particularly in relation to critical state actors: Lebanon, Syria, the United States, and Greece. Finally, we review the potential role of education as an important tool to both promote refugee health and to rebuild communities.
We hope you find the enclosed articles as moving and enlightening as we have. In this time of growing world-wide nationalism and protectionism, they speak to the clear benefit the international community gains by extending our hands to the most vulnerable and to the risk we take if we insist on shutting them out.
The NPHR Editors-in-Chief
Osefame Ewaleifoh and Claire Vernon