To Build a Bridge

Training for Health Professionals and Law Enforcement Officers

Summary Report on the MIPEX Health Strand and Country Reports

EQUI HEALTH Public Report

Border Management and Detention Procedures: Health Perspective




Migration Health: Better Health for All in Europe


Assisting Migrants and Communities


Improving HIV data comparability


HIV-related data on migrant and ethnic minority populations in EU/EEA/EFTA


Mobility of Health Professionals

MHD RO Brussels Publications

The Health Situation at EU Southern Borders - Migrant Health, Occupational Health, and Public Health - GREECE

Full Report available here

Facing increasing migration flows and still suffering the consequences of a severe economic crisis, Greece experiences various difficulties in the management of irregular migration, especially in the provision of healthcare and social services to undocumented migrants and in improving the unacceptable poor conditions and deficiencies in detention centers. Nevertheless, the revision and implementation of a new action plan on Asylum and Migration Management since June 2013, shows gradual improvements in policies and in the legal framework, defining roles and responsibilities among different authorities in Greece.

The Situational Analysis Report, part of the EQUI-HEALTH project – Southern EU Borders sub-action, presents the results of the assessment on Migrant, Occupational and Public Health that took place in November 2013 in Greece.

Based on desk research, field visits and interviews with different stakeholders, including law enforcement officers (LEOs), health professionals, and public authorities, the assessment provides an analysis of the national public health policies and practices addressing migration related challenges in Greece.

The work was undertaken in line with the IOM/WHO/Spanish Presidency of the EU “Global Consultation on Migrant Health” conceptual framework (Madrid 2010).

Although a new Asylum and Migration management service has been in operation since June 2013, a poor and improper implementation of national and European legal framework remains as one of the biggest challenges. Furthermore, the reception process presents a significant problem regarding the transfer of migrants from reception to detention centres due to lack of funds and/or facilities. This results in a prolonged reception process, causing overcrowding of the centers and worsening of the migrant’s health conditions.


“During the reception process the minors were kept longer at the police station until a special centre was found. That is the biggest problem because special shelters for minors are shutting down because of lack of funds”. (Civil Society Organization representative)


Findings present a limited and/or lack of implementation of the common procedure for medical screening of migrants in Greece. In fact, health professionals informed us that health data is collected locally, which hinders the exchange of information between reception / detention centres.

The assessment highlights the inadequate infrastructure and conditions of detention centres in Greece. Furthermore, healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers need more training on topics such as intercultural mediation, infection diseases, and/or safety & security in the work place.


“The biggest problem of all is funding. Not just for infrastructures but also for training. We need education. Education for everybody here – we need to know exactly what we can and should do” (LEO)


Recommendations based on the assessment carried out, and further revised during the National Consultative Committee (NCC) meeting held in Greece in November 2014, were structured in line with the 4 pillars of the IOM/WHO “Global Consultation on Migrant Health” conceptual framework:

1) Policy and legal framework
2) Partnership, network and multi-country framework
3) Monitoring migrant health
4) Migrant-sensitive health system.

In this context, existing EU legislation and procedures has to be expanded to promote and allow safe entry into the EU, and an appropriate vulnerability screening and referral for treatment of vulnerable groups within the legal framework in Greece should be further developed.

On the other hand, while a stronger exchange of practices, and more effective cooperation and solidarity is needed at regional and European level, Greece needs to establish a structured response during the entire reception process by developing shared protocols outlining roles and responsibilities.

Analysis of the findings also leads to the conclusion that Greece has to develop a systematic and comprehensive health assessment, data collection, and referral mechanism and ensure continuity of healthcare.

Finally, the reinforcement of health and social support systems throughout the reception process, including interpretation, cultural mediation, and psychosocial assistance has also been suggested based on the field findings.

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The Assessment Report was drafted by Dr. Chrisoula Botsi and Panayiotis Damaskos, and benefited from peer reviews by Marina Rota. It was edited and complemented by Marina Rota, Mariya Samuilova, and Alexandra Bousiou. The field assessment was conducted with the participation of 3 national researchers, the Council of Europe, the Institute of Public Health (Tirana), IOM MHD RO Brussels and with the support of IOM Athens.

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