Regional Migration and Health Strategy for Southwestern Islands of the Indian Ocean Launched

Migration Health

Port Louis – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, together with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) today (15/12) launched the Regional Strategy for Migration and Health 2016-2018: Priorities among the Southwestern Islands of the Indian Ocean.

Migration contributes positively to the socio-economic development of both destination and origin countries, although conditions at each stage of migration – pre-departure, in movement, arrival, integration and return – can increase health vulnerabilities among migrants and their host communities. Poverty and a lack of education, language skills or professional skills can be a source of greater vulnerability.

Today, the five IOC Member States (Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (France) and Seychelles) lack reliable and comparable data on the health of the migrants and the communities affected by migration, and suffer from absence or lack of coherence of their national policies on migration with international health-related commitments. The regional strategy introduces an innovative concept of migration and health in the sub-region, and will contribute to strengthen cooperation to reduce migration-related health vulnerabilities.

The Strategy was launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius, Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, as the IOC Council of Ministers’ current chair. High Level representatives from the IOC Member States’ Ministries and key public institutions with sectoral responsibilities on health and migration as well as United Nations, private sector and civil society representatives involved in migration and health issues were in attendance.

The strategy is the first of its kind to address intersecting migration and health issues in the sub-region. It presents a holistic view of migration and health, aligned with the World Health Assembly’s Resolution 61.17 (2008), the WHO’s Operational Framework on the Health of Migrants (2010), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With this Strategy, IOM Mauritius and IOM Madagascar (also representing Union of Comoros and Seychelles) will contribute to support the IOC and its Member States to ensure migrants’ well-being according to specific targets and through evidence-based programmes; good public health practices that reduce long-term health and social care costs, facilitate integration and enable equitable development.

It is a significant achievement for the Partnership on Health and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMESA2) programme, which offers a comprehensive public health approach, addressing health concerns that particularly affect migrants and mobile populations with focus on HIV prevention, treatment and care; and related conditions like tuberculosis and reproductive health.

The launch also provided an opportunity for technical experts and stakeholders to foster dialogue among stakeholders to consider and facilitate future implementation arrangements, while also contributing to the global agenda on migration and health.

For more information, please contact Céline Lemmel at IOM Mauritius, Tel: +230 525 423 38, Email:

  • Hamada Madi (left), IOC Secretary General, Dev Phokeer, Director Regional Integration Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius (center) and Michela Martini, IOM Migration and Health Regional Specialist. Photo: IOM

  • Group photo. Photo: IOM