Health and foreign policy: influences of migration and population mobility
Douglas W MacPherson, Brian D Gushulak, Liane Macdonald
International interest in the relationship between globalization and health is growing, and this relationship is increasingly figuring in foreign policy discussions. Although many globalizing processes are known to affect health, migration stands out as an integral part of globalization, and links between migration and health are well documented. Numerous historical interconnections exist between population mobility and global public health, but since the 1990s new attention to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases has promoted discussion of this topic. The containment of global disease threats is a major concern, and significant international efforts have received funding to fight infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Migration and population mobility play a role in each of these public health challenges. The growing interest in population mobility’s health-related influences is giving rise to new foreign policy initiatives to address the international determinants of health within the context of migration. As a result, meeting health challenges through international cooperation and collaboration has now become an important foreign policy component in many countries. However, although some national and regional projects address health and migration, an integrated and globally focused approach is lacking. As migration and population mobility are increasingly important determinants of health, these issues will require greater policy attention at the multilateral level.