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Riccardo F.,ISS National Institute of Health | Dente M.G.,ISS National Institute of Health | Fabiani M.,ISS National Institute of Health | Alfonsi V.,ISS National Institute of Health | Declich S.,ISS National Institute of Health
Health Policy | Year: 2012

Countries bordering the Mediterranean are part of a major migration system. The aim of this study is to assess the main access barriers to immunization of mobile populations in the region and propose an action based framework to decrease health access inequalities.A survey on formal and informal barriers to immunization among mobile communities was conducted among public health officials formally appointed as focal points of the EpiSouth Network by 26 Mediterranean countries. Twenty-two completed the questionnaire.Thirteen countries reported at least one vaccine preventable disease (VPD) outbreak occurring among mobile populations since 2006 even though their legal entitlement to immunization is mostly equivalent to the general population's. Informal barriers, particularly lack of information and lack of trust in authorities, and disaggregation of data collection are the major issues still to be addressed.Mediterranean countries need to fill the gap in immunization coverage among pockets of susceptible individuals in order to prevent VPD outbreaks. Having for the most part ensured free entitlement, introducing more migrant friendly approaches, increasing information availability among mobile communities, building trust in public health services and disaggregating data collection to monitor and evaluate service performance among mobile groups are key aspects to address in the region. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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