DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
The international refugee crisis has reached a critical point and many European countries are developing policy and plan to better define their role in supporting refugees entering Europe.
The aim of this projext is to enhance the capacity of European member states who accept migrants and refugees in addressing their health needs, safeguard them from risks, and minimize cross-border health risks. This initiative focus on addressing both the early arrival period and longer-term settlement of refugees in European host countries. The existing European and international experience has been systematically reviewed to identify effective interventions to vulnerable groups and tools for the initial health care needs assessment of the arriving refugees including mental, psychosocial and physical health. Established approaches including Participatory and Learning Action and Normalization Process Theory have been used to gain new understanding regarding the needs and opinions of both refugees and stakeholders in regards to the measures needed for health care assessment, and preventive activities including vaccinations, general health hygiene measures, chronic disease management, and psychosocial support.
The content of the services that an early or late hosting multi-disciplinary center could offer in the countries that they will accept refugees will be discussed and defined by an international expert panel. Clinical protocols, guidelines together with health education and promotion material and as well as a training programme will be developed for staff serving the refugees and migrants health care centre and tailored protocols and pilot testing in six implementation settings in Greece, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia with contribution from experts and stakeholders from Turkey, Cyprus, Ireland and Belgium. Finally, all these efforts will be evaluated and a final report for implementation in European settings will be produced to guide best practice in this important humanitarian effort.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
During the fieldwork the project managed to involve numerous refugees during their journey in so many countries over the same period of time. This approach enabled the project team to get a snap shot of the health needs and experiences of refugees with healthcare system in their chain of travel through Europe during the first 3 months of 2016. In contrast with most of the studies conducted among refugees about their health problems in long-stay refugee centres, it also included hotspots, intermediate and transit centres. A new and very important finding of the study is that time pressure is
the most difficult barrier in accessing healthcare at hotspots or transit centres something that is relevant for the development of suitable rapid assessment tools (developed in WP3, WP4, and WP5). The results of WP2 had a significant association in providing services to this vulnerable population based on their needs, wishes and preferences. All the results of WP2 assisted us in the development of tools and questionnaires for rapid health assessment, as well as in the development of training material in WP6.
These results are significant because it offered better knowledge on their health needs, wishes, problems and expectations. This was quite important as it supported both health policy makers and the healthcare providers in decision making process.