IOM, Partners in Central America Train Migrant Health Promoters
El Salvador - IOM and its partners in Central America have organized a series of training workshops in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua aimed at health promoters and government officials concerned with the human rights and health needs of migrants.
The workshops in the three capitals and in high migration provinces were attended by 340 participants. They addressed the vulnerabilities and needs of migrant populations and provided training on the provision of migrant-friendly health services and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
An estimated three million Salvadorians, 1.6 million Guatemalans, 1.2 million Hondurans, and 900,000 Nicaraguans live and work abroad. All countries have seen the number of forced returns increase in the past few years. In 2014, Guatemala received 70,000 returnees, while El Salvador received 35,000.
Although the majority of migrants from Central America are healthy young adults, migration leads to changes in their lives which can have a negative impact on their health, sometimes resulting in chronic ailments.
“Migrants undergo changes to their lifestyles, including their health. They adjust to the prevailing culture and often do not have access to health care. This undermines their health and they begin to suffer from the principal ailments that afflict most migrant populations. These can include infectious diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis; mental illness; substance abuse; work-related complaints; high blood pressure; diabetes; obesity and depression,” explains Dr. Carlos Van Der Latt, IOM Regional Health Officer in Costa Rica.
“This training is providing health promoters with the tools to help migrants, their families and returnees to have better health,” said David López of El Salvador’s Ministry of Health.
Alicia Navalón, IOM Regional Project Coordinator added: “Health promoters are very influential actors in these (return) communities. They play a central role by identifying vulnerabilities and needs and can activate referral mechanisms for those who need them.”
The workshops are part of a regional project funded by the IOM Development Fund. IOM partners include Ministries of Interior and Health, immigration authorities, UN agencies and civil society organizations.
For more information, please contact
IOM El Salvador
Tel: +502. 2521 0500