Sweden Backs IOM Plan to Reduce Health Vulnerability of Migrants in East and Southern Africa
South Africa - IOM, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is launching a project aimed at reducing the health vulnerability of migrants and people affected by migration in East and Southern Africa.
The project, Partnership on Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa Phase II (PHAMESA II), builds on the success of PHAMESA I and the Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMSA) implemented over the past decade.
PHAMESA II will respond to more comprehensive public health needs of migrants and communities affected by migration with a specific focus on spaces of vulnerability. These are areas where migration causes increased health vulnerability for everyone in that community, whether they are migrants or host communities.
To address these challenges, IOM will implement interventions to improve health literacy among migrants and communities, as well as increase availability, accessibility, and acceptability of services that improve health in identified spaces of vulnerability. IOM will also engage, sensitize and build capacity of health care institutions and service providers.
It will also work with public as well as non-profit and private service providers to facilitate the provision of preventive and curative health services, as well as address social determinants of health such as poverty, food security, immigration status, accommodation and transport.
In order to achieve an improved and sustainable response to migration and health challenges in the region, IOM will also address institutional, structural and normative factors that impact on health outcomes of migrants and migration affected communities.
IOM will focus on creating an enabling policy and legislative environment that supports migrants’ right to health, promoting evidenced-based policy and/or legal instruments at regional, national and sub-national levels. IOM will also ensure sustainability of migration and health responses in the region by strengthening partnerships, networks and multi-country frameworks.
Finally, IOM recognizes the importance of strategic data and evidence to inform policies and programmes. It will therefore undertake research to increase quality data and evidence on migration and health, as well as advocate for national information systems to incorporate indicators that measure the health of migrants.
At the core of all these activities is the realization of migrants’ right to health, which has been recognized by numerous global, regional legal instruments, including many national policy instruments and statutes. Of particular note is the World Health Assembly Resolution on the Health of Migrants 61.17 (2008).
PHAMESA II will also advocate and promote female empowerment, male involvement and couple communication in order to address some health needs and vulnerabilities caused by gender dynamics and norms in East and Southern Africa.
“To achieve a sustainable response to migration and health, no one organization can do it alone. We need to build partnerships at local, national and regional levels to support service delivery, build capacity, mobilize resources and create an enabling policy and legislative environment that supports the realisation of migrants’ right to health,” says Dr. Erick Ventura, IOM South Africa Chief of Mission a.i.
“Ultimately these migration and health responses should be sustainable: IOM will continue to strengthen multi-sectorial partnerships, promote information sharing, coordination and collaboration among governments, non-government organizations, the private sector and migrants,” he notes.
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