The health of refugees and other forcibly displaced people is a key component of protection and a priority for UNHCR. The 1951 Refugee Convention states that refugees should enjoy access to health services equivalent to that of the host population, while everyone has the right under international law to the highest standards of physical and mental health.
In Malaysia, while refugees are able to access public and private healthcare facilities, this is often hindered by a variety of factors including the cost of treatment, fear of moving in public in order to access those services, and language barriers.
UNHCR works closely with partner organizations who implement health programmes in a range of challenging settings. We play a planning, coordination, monitoring and evaluation role. Health and nutrition programmes are delivered within a public health and community development framework, with an emphasis on primary health care and support for secondary hospital care. The objective of these programmes is to minimize mortality and morbidity rates.
The refugee agency plans its health care interventions based on needs, risks and vulnerabilities, which are determined as part of an inter-agency assessment by a competent health and nutrition partner and/or UNHCR staff, together with refugee communities.