Four EU ministers voice concerns over impact of illegal migration on public health

Four European Union ministers - among them Greek Health Minister Andreas Loverdos - on Tuesday asked the European Commission to take the necessary action to safeguard public health from the dangers posed by illegal migrants.

The issue was raised by the health ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy at an informal meeting of EU health ministers held in Budapest.

Noting the links between public health and illegal migration, the minister expressed concern about the repercussions of uncontrolled migration on public health due to the "very different epidemiological profile" of the populations arriving to those of the EU.

They call for measures to assist countries receiving large numbers of illegal migrants, in collaboration with the European Centre for the Prevention and Control of Diseases and the European bureau of the World Health Organisation.

The four ministers also note that a meeting in Rome on April 13 on this issue will be useful for launching such cooperation.

Health minister on dangers for public health by illegal immigration

Greek Health and Social Solidarity Minister Andreas Loverdos, in statements made Tuesday in Budapest where he participated in the European Union's Informal Council of Health Ministers in the framework of the Hungarian presidency of the EU in the first half of 2011, warned of the dangers entailed for public health by illegal immigration since, as he stressed, among the illegal immigrants there are many contagious illnesses such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, malaria and AIDS.

Describing the phenomenon of illegal immigration facing Greece, Loverdos said that Greece has been receiving increasing waves of illegal immigration in past years and these people, claiming that they are coming from countries with political conflicts and social and national uprisings are requesting political asylum.

The minister added that this phenomenon has taken on the characteristics of the mass movement of people to the countries of the European Union.

WHO delegation in Evros region

A delegation of the World Health Organisatiopn (WHO), which is in the Evros region, will examine problems related to the health of immigrants and the hygiene of detention centres.

According to the delegation's head, the visit is taking place mainly to record hygiene conditions and the health of immigrants hosted at the detention centres and does not concern the issue of illegal immigration.

The delegation's reports and their ascertainments on Evros will be discussed next week at a meeting to be held in Rome.

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