In the early 21st century, Morocco transitioned from being a predominantly transit migration country into both a transit and destination country for migrants. In 2013, the Moroccan government took significant steps to adapt the healthcare system in better integrating migrants in its policies. The government implemented the National Strategy on Immigration and Asylum that improved access to public health care for migrants. Recently, in March of 2020, Morocco declared a state of medical emergency due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that continues today. This paper addresses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the current state of migrant health in Morocco. I first give a brief description of the historical background of migration in Morocco. Next, I present the Moroccan healthcare system and its relation to migrants. Then, I detail three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide public health support to migrants. Finally, I describe the current situation of COVID-19 and its effects on migrants in Morocco. To collect my data, I interviewed a Moroccan public official with expertise in migration, a public health sector physician, and staff from NGOs. The NGOs Fondation Orient-Occident and Organisation des Jeunes Africains serve regular migrants, while the NGO Manos Solidarias aids irregular migrants. Through these five perspectives, I analyze the current state of migrant health in two sections showing the realities of migrant health in the Moroccan healthcare system pre-and peri-COVID-19 pandemic. The research revealed a present theory-practice gap in the quality to health care access to migrants both pre-and peri-pandemic. The government promptly took action to include migrants in the national outbreak response and readiness. However, the interviews identified that there is a disconnect in real-world practices between certain government policies and real migrant experiences. In these practices, NGOs and civil society fill the health gap by effectively repurposing their resources to meet migrants’ specific needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. I recommend a concentration of efforts in improving public health among the migrant community, as well as an increase in collaborative efforts between the government and NGOs to continue striving toward health equity for migrants in Morocco.
African Studies | Epidemiology | Health and Medical Administration | Health Policy | Medicine and Health | Migration Studies | Public Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Virus Diseases | Viruses
Babahaji, Layla, "The Current State of Migrant Health in Morocco: Pre-and Peri-COVID-19 Pandemic" (2020). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 3353.
African Studies Commons, Epidemiology Commons, Health and Medical Administration Commons, Health Policy Commons, Medicine and Health Commons, Migration Studies Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons, Virus Diseases Commons, Viruses Commons