Access to medicine among asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants across the migratory cycle: a scoping review protocol

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INTRODUCTION: Migration creates new health vulnerabilities and exacerbates pre-existing medical conditions. Migrants often face legal, system-related, administrative, language and financial barriers to healthcare, but little is known about factors that specifically influence migrants' access to medicines and vaccines. This scoping review aims to map existing evidence on access to essential medicines and vaccines among asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants who aim to reach Europe. We will consolidate existing information and analyse the barriers that limit access at the different stages of the migratory phases, as well as policies and practices undertaken to address them.

METHODS: We follow the Arksey and O'Malley framework for knowledge synthesis of research, as updated by Levac et al. For reporting the results of our search and to synthetise evidence, we will adhere to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extended reporting guideline for scoping reviews. This scoping review consists of five iterative stages. Bibliographic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Scopus) and grey literature databases (Open Grey, Grey Literature Report and Google Scholar, Web of Science Conference Proceedings, non-governmental organisations and United Nations agency websites) will be searched for relevant studies.

DISSEMINATION AND ETHICS: This review will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed article in a scientific open-access journal and conference presentations. Furthermore, findings will be shared at workshops of research and operational stakeholders for facilitating translation into research and operational practices. Since it consists of reviewing and collecting data from publicly available materials, this scoping review does not require ethics approval.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere068917
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Humans
  • Refugees
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Europe
  • Research Design
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Review Literature as Topic


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