Lisa Hitch, MPH Candidate and Research Assistant at CUNY CIRGH, has been selected to present a poster at the 2022 North American Refugee Health Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The poster will present the results of CIRGH’s recent policy brief, which is currently under review for publication in the Lancet Migration:
Objective: To explore how various attributes of large urban areas mitigate and/or exacerbate the impact of COVID-19 on migrant groups.
Methods: A literature search was conducted and 24 studies met eligibility criteria of English, peer-reviewed literature with a focus on the effects of COVID-19 on migrants living in cities with populations >500,000. Migrants were defined as foreign-born individuals regardless of immigration status, including but not limited to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
Results: Pre-existing socioeconomic inequity, lack of inclusion of migrants in government responses (e.g., relief programs), and residential segregation exacerbate the impact of COVID-19 on urban migrants. Engagement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and e-governance act as mitigators of the impact of COVID-19 on these same groups. The use of technology such as teleservices, showed promising mitigating effects as well; however, it also introduces additional barriers such as access to devices and infrastructure (e.g., internet bandwidth).
Recommendation: We recommend increased attention to the systemic social inequities faced by migrant groups in large urban areas. These should be considered as part of pandemic and emergency preparedness. In addition, more innovative and inclusive governance strategies are needed, as well as more research on the impacts of urban design. Efforts of CSOs in the design and delivery of services to migrants can be improved by providing systematic and coordinated service delivery including strong partnerships with local governments. Taken together, these measures would help address the disproportionate impact of health crises on migrants living in large urban areas.