Quality assessment of systematic reviews on international migrant healthcare interventions: a systematic review

Eric Nwachukwu Agbata, Diana Buitrago-Garcia, Solange Nunez-Gonzalez, Syeda Shanza Hashmi, Kevin Pottie, Pablo Alonso-Coello, Ingrid Arevalo-Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aim: The significant increase in international cross-border migrations remains a global public health concern; therefore, the need for migrant-specific evidence-based interventions is critical. We assessed the methodological and reporting quality of systematic reviews (SRs) focused on migrant healthcare interventions. Methods: We systematically searched in five electronic databases from 2007 to April 2020 to identify SRs on migrant health. Two independent reviewers assessed risk of bias, methodological and reporting quality in included systematic reviews (SRs) using ROBIS, AMSTAR-2 and PRISMA checklist, respectively. Results: We included 57 systematic reviews. The quality in 30 SRs (52.6%) was either low or critically low due to limitations in AMSTAR-2 items 4, 7, 8 and 10–16. The overall risk of bias was high in 23 SRs (40.4%), particularly in domains—data collection and study quality—20 SRs (35.1%), synthesis and findings—19 SRs (33.3%), and study identification and selection 13 SRs (22.8%). The quality of reporting in 36 SRs (63.2%) was moderate, with 19.74 ± 4.67 items fulfilled. While 19 SRs (33.3%) had 10–18 PRISMA items satisfied. Sixteen SRs (28.1%) reported a research protocol and registration. Conclusions: The overall quality of migrant SRs is suboptimal, with critical gaps linked to low protocol registrations, assessment of risk of bias and publication bias, additional analysis of synthesized evidence and available funding. These findings reflect current deficiencies in the development of SR on migrant healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1244
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Migrant healthcare
  • PRISMA checklist
  • Quality assessment, AMSTAR-2 tool
  • Systematic reviews


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