Group of Friends of Health for Refugees and Host Communities

Group of Friends of Health for Refugees and Host Communities

A doctor discussing with a mom and her chlid

Good health is central for every person’s wellbeing and everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, including refugees and their host communities. Likewise, good mental health is vital for every person to cope with the stresses of life, to realize their abilities, to learn well and work well, and to contribute to their communities. Addressing the health of refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people has never been so important as more people than ever are forcibly displaced and global health challenges are increasing as witnessed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation is becoming more complex as conflicts persist and climate change impacts health and disease patterns.

As part of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), States and other stakeholders have committed to contribute resources and expertise to expand and enhance the quality of national health systems to facilitate effective and equitable access by refugees and host communities. These commitments will facilitate effective access to health services for refugees and host communities, raising national coverage while reducing differences amongst underserved and vulnerable groups. Since the affirmation of the GCR in 2018, individuals, private businesses, organisations and governments have made more than 90 pledges to advance access to health services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNHCR are convening the Group of Friends of Health for Refugees and Host Communities comprised of States, refugees, private sector partners, NGOs, academia and international organisations to achieve sustainable inclusion into national health systems, to strengthen national health services and to systematically include mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) actions in the response to achieve lasting change for refugees and host communities alike.

The Group has two dedicated workstreams, 1) inclusion in national health systems and 2) advancing MHPSS through multi-sectoral actions. In addition, small group meetings are organized to advance joint pledges on vaccination and other thematic areas. Workstream and pledge leads include the Kingdom of Morocco, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNICEF and GAVI.

The Group will further leverage the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023 as a key advocacy moment to advance these objectives.

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More than 60 partners representing States, refugees, private sector partners, NGOs, academia, UN and international organisations.


  • 22 March 2024 - Group of Friends of Health for Refugees and Host Communities meeting