Health, Border & Mobility Management

Local, regional and global human mobility is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, which can amplify the spread of communicable diseases and the impact of public health events; the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is an iconic reminder of this fact.

IOM’s Health, Border & Mobility Management (HBMM) is a conceptual and operational framework with the ultimate goal of improving prevention, detection and response to the spread of diseases along the mobility continuum (at points of origin, transit, destination and return) and its Spaces of Vulnerability (SOVs), where migrants and mobile populations interact with stationary, local communities. With particular focus on border areas, HBMM unifies border management with health security and ultimately supports the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

HBMM also endeavours to build human mobility competent health systems at both the community and primary health care levels, which is essential for global health security. Such systems are responsive to the dynamics of human mobility and are inclusive, ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all, including migrants and mobile populations, regardless of their status.

“Human mobility dynamics” represents the “Who, What, Where, Why, When and How”, regarding travellers, migrants, and mobile populations. Understanding human mobility dynamics through Population Mobility Mapping (PMM), a core activity of HBMM, is essential for the development of public health interventions to prevent, detect and respond to international health threats and, thereby, supports the realization of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). It enables the identification and prioritization of SOVs, where public health measures need to be strengthened. Moreover, knowing the origins, routes and destinations of travellers facilitates the prediction of disease transmission patterns. Understanding mobility is an essential component of evidence-based, public health programming, which combines and correlates conventional information on epidemiology, burden of disease, and health systems capacity with the various health risks associated with human mobility.

PMM for Public Health Emergency Management

PMM for Prevention: PMM is used to inform priority locations for public health emergency prevention measures, such as health promotion, risk communication and vaccination.

PMM for Detection: PMM is used to inform priority locations for strengthened disease surveillance, including CEBS – these locations may include SOVs, such as cross-border markets, bus stations, migrant worker sites and entertainment centers.

PMM for Preparedness: PMM is used to inform priority locations for capacity building, infrastructure improvement and stockpiling.

PMM for Control: PMM is utilized to identify locations where control measures need to be put in place, including health screening whenever relevant, community mobilization, infection prevention and control.