Insufficient Data on Migration and Health Undermine Health Systems’ Responses

Migration Health, Migration Research

Berlin – Data and information on the health of migrants and health issues stemming from migration could make health systems’ responses more effective. Yet such data are scarce, according to a recently published health information page on the Global Migration Data Portal.

The Global Migration Data Portal was launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in 2017. It serves as a unique access point to timely, comprehensive migration statistics and reliable information about migration data globally. The health information webpage was authored by IOM’s Migration Health Division in coordination with IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). It outlines existing and potential data sources on the health of migrants, and data limitations that hinder countries from better understanding migration and health; addressing public health issues; and making national comparisons to drive evidence-informed policies and practices.

IOM’s Migration Health Division reiterates its call to collect better disaggregated data on the health of migrants as mentioned in the reports from the first and second Global Consultation on Migration Health, held respectively in 2010 and 2017, as well as in the 2008 and 2017 World Health Assembly Resolutions on the Health of Migrants.

According to IOM, the need to enhance health information systems and improve countries’ capacities to collect data on migration health remains a challenge for both developing and developed nations. At the international level no standardized guidance on what data to collect, and how to do so, exists. Also, there is no global health framework with indicators to measure and monitor the health of migrants.

“To address this issue, three things are needed,” stated Jacqueline Weekers, IOM’s Director of Migration Health. “Better approaches to identify sources of migration health data at national, subnational, regional and sub-regional levels; improved methods for analyzing such data; and finally, greater investments in enabling member states and relevant agencies to collaborate across sectors to advance the field of migration health data informatics.”

IOM’s Migration Health Division has developed a repository of its health-related projects and technical outputs into an open-source online portal. The website serves as a practical platform for connecting research experts and scholars, learning about global migration health research initiatives, and improving evidence-based policy and practice. Upcoming events relevant to migration and health are also presented through the portal.

Additionally, a global database of IOM’s migration and health research publications is being created via an open source platform; the publications will be searchable by type of migrant and topic such as mental health, nutrition, etc.

For more information, please contact Kol Wickramage at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 2 230 1631, Email: