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Free Content Tuberculosis, human rights and ethics considerations along the route of a highly vulnerable migrant from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe

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Migrant health is a critical public health issue, and in many countries attention to this topic has focused on the link between migration and communicable diseases, including tuberculosis (TB). When creating public health policies to address the complex challenges posed by TB and migration, countries should focus these policies on evidence, ethics, and human rights. This paper traces a commonly used migration route from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, identifying situations at each stage in which human rights and ethical values might be affected in relation to TB care. This illustration provides the basis for discussing TB and migration from the perspective of human rights, with a focus on the right to health. We then highlight three strands of discussion in the ethics and justice literature in an effort to develop more comprehensive ethics of migrant health. These strands include theories of global justice and global health ethics, the creation of ‘firewalls' to separate enforcement of immigration law from protection of human rights, and the importance of non-stigmatization to health justice. The paper closes by reflecting briefly on how TB programs can better incorporate human rights and ethical principles and values into public health practice.
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Keywords: communicable disease; discrimination; global health justice; migration; stigma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany 2: University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 3: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 4: Treatment Action Group, New York, New York, USA

Publication date: 2017-10-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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