NEW YORK, 24th November, 2015 (WAM) — As the unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants into Europe strains host countries’ medical resources, the United Nations World Health Organization, WHO, is holding a high-level meeting in Rome to draft a common strategy on health care for the newcomers, ranging from prompt vaccination against measles and polio to dealing with childbirth complications.

“Health systems in the European region, including those of countries that receive refugees and migrants, are well equipped to diagnose and treat common infectious and non-communicable diseases,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, which includes Turkey, and has received nearly three million refugees and migrants this year alone.

“But we, as a region, must seek to ensure that all countries are adequately prepared and organised to withstand the added pressures of supporting a mass influx of people, while at the same time protecting the health of their resident populations,” she told health ministers and high-level representatives from Europe and other WHO regions at the start of the two-day meeting.

The aim is to agree on a common approach and joint action as large-scale migration places immense and often unexpected pressure on the health systems of host countries, testing both their capacity and preparedness.