Migrant Health Assessment Experts Meet in Sri Lanka

Capacity Building, Migration Health

Sri Lanka -­ An International Consultation on Pre-Departure Health Assessments took place in Colombo from 26th -27th September, hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka with technical support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and financial support from the IOM Development Fund.

Over 35 international experts from countries of origin and destination and 50 local technical experts, policy makers and scholars took part in the meeting, which aimed to provide a platform for discussion to strengthen migrant health assessment services and national public health systems.

Various pre-departure health assessment protocols practiced by the destination countries, impacts on migrants and public health in the countries of origin, challenges in implementation, and possible areas for collaboration were discussed.

Health assessment is an integral part of migration worldwide and helps migrants to become more aware of their personal health conditions and to address their own health needs. It also contributes to instilling public confidence in receiving and sending countries relating to the identification of non-communicable diseases.

Recommendations at the meeting included the need for public health systems in countries of origin to identify people with significant health conditions to facilitate continuity of care in destination countries. Participants also recognized the need for harmonization to meet global public health targets.

“Pre-departure health assessments should not be a barrier or burden to migrants, but should be a part of the health system. In the next few years, our primary focus will be strengthening these systems so that all citizens and migrants have access to health,” said Dr. Jayasundara Bandara, Director General of Health Services, Government of Sri Lanka.

“Health assessments are valuable in the migration process. Migration health assessments contribute substantially to addressing the health needs of migrants and host communities alike, particularly when supported by adequate pre- and post-arrival health services and community-based interventions. These measures can also promote positive health seeking behaviors through pre-departure health education and awareness campaigns,” said Dr. Goran Grujovic, IOM Regional Coordinator for Health Assessment Programs in Asia and the Pacific.

The International Consultation on Pre-Departure Health Assessments followed the “2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health” held earlier this year in Colombo.

For more information, please contact Giuseppe Crocetti at IOM Sri Lanka. Email: gcrocetti@iom.int, Tel. +94 115325354.

  • Delegates at the International Consultation on Pre-Departure Health Assessment. Photo: IOM 2017