Addressing the health of migrants requires international cooperation to advance the achievements of objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), that enable migrants to contribute to the socioeconomic development of their origin and host communities. IOM believes in strengthening partnerships among UN agencies, national governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to enable the sharing of information and resources, to improve the understanding of the complex nature of migration, and to build effective programmes. Such cooperation enhances the monitoring of migrant health trends and improves the prevalence of migrant-inclusive health policies.
Efforts to advance the migration health agenda were undertaken by IOM, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in February of 2017 through the organization of the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health. This consultation provided a platform for dialogue and commitment for multisectoral stakeholders to enhance the health of migrants, facilitating engagement among partners at the policy level. Actors from a variety of backgrounds worked together to identify key policy strategies and areas to reach a comprehensive agenda. Following the event, government representatives adopted the Colombo Statement, an example of a multisectoral effort to mainstream the health of migrants within the global health and international migration and development policy discussion, reaffirming their commitment to promote the health of migrants.
These milestones illustrate the rising awareness and urgency to adapt existing policies and programmes to the health challenges related to global human mobility. However, the adaptation and development of policy instruments remains slow and fragmented, resulting in the health of migrants being under-researched, under-funded, and an absent theme in key international dialogues. Consequentially, millions of migrants are still denied access to health services and remain underrepresented in global health initiatives.
IOM and its partners strive to create and advise governments on policies that link the global health, migration, and development agendas to bring solutions for migration health issues to the forefront.