Promoting the Health of Migrants Within, Between, & Across Regions

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“Promoting the Health of Migrants Within, Between, & Across Regions”

Bangkok - The health of migrants is of upmost importance, not only for migrants themselves but also for host communities, host countries, regional and global health goals. Promoting migrant health and ensuring that no migrant is left behind requires dedicated efforts within, between, and across countries in order to provide accessible, equitable, and effective health care access for migrants.

In Bangkok, government officials and International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff from 13 countries (4 from the Middle East and North Africa Region, and 8 from Asia) met at the “Cross-Regional Knowledge Exchange Workshop for Promotion of Migrant Health”.

Co-hosted by IOM & the Ministry of Public Health and the participation of the World Health Organization in Thailand, the June 25-27 workshop focused on policies and legal framework; migrants’ health monitoring; health data and research; and cross regional partnership and network on migrant health promotion. 

“We learned experiences from other countries like Thailand & Morocco. In Libya, we do not have a national strategy for migrant health and an operational guide. Through this workshop, we have acquired lots of information which will help us to move towards the wellbeing of migrants”, said Dr. Tawfik Rahab A. Hrisha, from the Ministry of Health, Libya.

The workshop presented a wonderful opportunity where participants shared experiences, across different migration contexts. Furthermore, during these days the representatives from the 13 countries learned about the challenges, successes, and good practices in addressing and promoting the health needs of migrants within different countries, and within regional and global cooperation.

The workshop included a visit to Saint Anna School, where migrants’ children are taught by religious volunteers as their parents and the Samut Sakhon tertiary level Hospital, that offers health services to migrant workers and local communities.

“Thailand was an integral part of the workshop in regard to presenting their programs in supporting migrants,” added Dr. Carlos Van Der Laat, IOM Migrant Health Assistance Programme Coordinator.

 “Migration is now a reality that all countries are now facing, and we have to be prepared to face it”, said Dr. Ahmed Rehan, the from the Ministry of Health and Population, Egypt.

Knowing and learning how to best promote migrant health cannot be confined to a single country or region. It is only through sharing of experiences, cross-fertilization of ideas, and collaborating on solutions that can address these complex issues.

Among the participants were representatives from Cambodia, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, and Viet Nam.

Universal health coverage cannot be achieved without the inclusion of all (documented and undocumented) migrants.