Panel Paper: Refugees in Europe and the Public Health Crisis: Evidence from Greece

Friday, July 14, 2017 : 11:50 AM
Serenity (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Amelie F. Constant, Princeton University; Global Labor Organization and Charalampia Geladari, Evangelismos Hospital
The surge of refugees and asylees in Europe has upended the cultural, political and humanitarian norms in Europe and many fear that it threatens the very existence of the 25 years old European Union. As refugees are unevenly distributed across the EU-states, some are hit harder than others. Greece, as a gateway country, received over 170,000 refugees in 2016 alone. With a public health system that has already suffered cuts from the austerity measures everybody’s health is at stake. In this paper we study the health of foreigners versus natives and examine the viability of the public health system in Greece. We use data from the emergency room of Evangelismos, the largest public hospital in Athens, which has all health units except gynecology and pediatrics. Our study offers insights into the ailments and diseases of the foreigners, whether communicative or not and increases our understanding about the needs of the foreign patients so we can cater to their needs in a more cost efficient manner. Overall, refugees are younger and quite healthy and take care of themselves. Our results show that, on average, foreigners, whether refugees, legal or irregular, do not have a significantly different health status than natives. While they have a higher probability of having tuberculosis or hepatitis they do not have any sexually transmitted diseases or HIV-AIDS.