Migration Health Division

IOM delivers and promotes comprehensive, preventative and curative health programmes that are beneficial, accessible and equitable for migrants and migration-affected communities. Bridging the needs of both migrants and IOM’s Member States, IOM contributes towards the physical, mental and social well-being of migrants and host communities, enabling them to achieve social and economic development.

Significant areas of intervention include strengthening the capacities of health systems in migration-affected areas; advocacy and capacity building for migration-sensitive and responsive service provision; direct health service provision including diagnosis, treatment and vaccination; health education and awareness raising for migrants and communities; and delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in emergency settings. This is done through a three-pronged approach to health programming: migration health assessments and travel health assistance; health promotion and assistance for migrants; and migration health assistance for crisis-affected populations.  

In East and Horn of Africa, many countries struggle with weak health systems and high burdens of both communicable and non-communicable disease. Conflict and post-conflict countries in particular must not only rebuild national and community health systems but also provide services to displaced and vulnerable populations. At the same time, migrants often face barriers to accessing available health services due to a range of legal, economic, language, social and cultural factors.  

In response, IOM engages in migration health-related activities throughout the region to support realization of the vision of healthy migrants in healthy communities. IOM responds to the health needs of migrants throughout all phases of the migration process, and to the public health needs of host and home communities, by strengthening health systems and migration policies and practices.  

At the same time, IOM addresses individual health and safety and manages conditions of public health concern as individuals move across borders. Through Migration Health Assessment Centres (MHAC), IOM promotes the health of migrants with the initiation of preventative and curative interventions for conditions that, if left untreated, could have a negative impact on individual migrant’s health and/or the public health of host communities. IOM runs a total of nine Migration Health Assessment Centres in the East and Horn of Africa region.

The East and Horn of Africa region experiences emergency health situations frequently, to address urgent health needs for migrants including displaced persons and host communities in the context of crises, IOM implements a range of interventions through static clinics, rapid response health teams, mobile clinics, and community health promotion activities. These efforts are complemented by WASH and mental health and psychosocial support interventions.  In 2018, health in emergencies operation were carried out in the following countries, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and South Sudan.