IOM assists crisis-affected populations and governments through the provision of emergency health services. The Organization’s health-in-crisis programming is cross-cutting, addressing the physical, mental and social well-being of persons, families and communities, with integration into other emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities. It includes the provision of direct health-care services, health promotion, health systems strengthening, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), resettlement and travel health assistance for refugees, as well as outbreak preparedness and response.   

The Organization’s health work in crisis contexts is implemented in a community-based manner, and in close coordination with other units within the Organization – for example the Displacement Tracking Matrix and water, sanitation and hygiene activities – for a multisectoral approach to effectively and durably address the most critical needs of vulnerable populations. With the aim of bridging the humanitarian-development gap, IOM seeks to address acute needs while also focusing on sustainable health system strengthening. 

IOM’s emergency health activities are evidence-based with a notable investment on migration health research, and are continuously expanding in size and scope, in particular regarding sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence programming, in line with the Organization’s commitments to the 2013 Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies.  

The Health, Border and Mobility Management (HBMM) Framework guides IOM’s response which aims to support governments and communities in understanding how to address the mobility dimensions of public health threats and ensure that affected and at-risk populations receive adequate and timely support.  

These efforts are central to safeguarding global health security and strengthening mobility-sensitive health systems for person-centred universal health coverage that includes migrants and forcibly displaced persons. IOM’s COVID-19 and Ebola virus disease-related health programming has been and continues to be anchored in the HBMM Framework.  

IOM is a formal partner of the World Health Organization, and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Global Health Cluster, and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. 

Migration health assessments and travel health assistance for crisis-affected people 

Through its Global Health Assessments Programme (HAP), IOM provides critical assistance to refugees by conducting medical assessments and providing medical escort services during resettlement when needed. Learn more about IOM’s HAP here.