Migration and Health

Migration and Health

As the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, IOM supports the states to meet health challenges associated with migration. Migrants are facing 

many health risks associated with migration, due to degraded sanitary conditions, a limited access to basic services, especially health services, and an increased exposure to violence and risks of exploitation. These elements increase the vulnerability of migrants and host communities/ communities of origin in terms of physical, mental and psychosocial health and well-being, especially in humanitarian crisis situations. 

  • Prevention and Health Services

IOM cooperates with States and stakeholders in order to ensure a fair access to prevention and health services for all the individuals involved in migratory movements. The activities undertaken under this framework aims at identifying migrant populations and host communities’ health needs and assessing the multisectoral determinants (or risk factors) contributing to this increased vulnerability. 

As an example, IOM is currently carrying out a study in Senegal on HIV/AIDS vulnerability among female sex workers, who are generally migrants. In Ghana, IOM received funding from the Stop-TB-Partnership (TB-REACH Programme) to better identify and treat tuberculosis among Ivorian refugees and host populations in the Western part of the country. Other interventions seek to reinforce national health systems, by assessing incountry human resources for health needs , identifying health professionals living in the diaspora , and facilitating their temporary or permanent returns in their country of origin.    

In crisis situations, IOM support States to ensure an access to primary and emergency cares for vulnerable populations during and after the crisis. Main activities include the deployment of mobile or fixed clinic services, rehabilitation of health infrastructures, establishment of minimum standards for health services, health promotion for communities and capacity building for health professionals. Besides, IOM works in close cooperation with governments and national partners to provide pre-departure health screening, medical evacuations and referrals . 

IOM implemented these activities during crises in Ivory Coast, Mali and the Central African Republic. 

  • Psychosocial and Mental Health

IOM provides mental health services and psychosocial assistance to the migrants in need, in order to reduce the vulnerability associated with migration and prevent mental health disorder and/or psychosocial distress. In crisis or post-crisis situations, IOM implements different types of interventions, including socio-cultural activities, group discussions or trainings on better understanding and consideration of emotional dislocation, provided to humanitarian actors and clinic working staff.