IOM Supports Sri Lanka’s Border Health Strategy
Sri Lanka - IOM has partnered with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health to launch an innovative National Border Health Programme. It encompasses a Health Information System, a Standard Operating Procedures manual for border health officials, and a revitalization of domestic legal frameworks.
Sri Lanka is attempting to eliminate diseases like malaria, as well as preventing new pathogens from entering the country, now that travel is on the rise. The border health strategy aims at adopting an evidence informed and migrant sensitive approach to safeguard the country from the spread of disease and to ensure the health of travellers.
The border health information system designed and developed by IOM and the Ministry of Health will enable health data to be captured via mobile tablet computers at points of entry using an open-source software platform, allowing for real-time disease surveillance and data mapping.
The accompanying standard operating procedures manual provides information for border health officials on public health measures for prevention, early warning and response to various public health events. This includes of an international spread of disease and threat of biological, radiological or chemical agents.
The manual not only encapsulates measures from international health regulations, but also encompasses migration health-related procedures, such as those dealing with migrant worker abuse and malaria screening of irregular migrants.
The third component of the project focuses on revising the existing domestic legislation on quarantine health to give border health officials regulatory powers and functions.
Together, the new products form part of a national border health project funded by the Canadian government and implemented by IOM and the Sri Lankan government’s Directorate of Quarantine.
“This project will help address health challenges relating to increased cross-border travel and the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases within a comprehensive border health strategy,” commented IOM Chief of Mission Giuseppe Crocetti.
“With the rapid increase of international travel comes the emergence and re-emergence of new diseases. I have given high priority to the Migration Health Program having launched the Migration Health Policy for our country in 2013. The fact that we now have a dedicated National Border Health strategy shows our commitment for protection of migrants and the public health of our country at large. These SOPs are like a ‘compass’ that health officials can hold to guide them in their daily work,” noted Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithreepala Sirisena.
The project also fulfils a key objective of the Sri Lankan Government‘s National Policy on Migration Health, which IOM Sri Lanka has supported for the past four years.
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