Improving Migrants' Access to Medical Care in Belarus
Health is one of the main values for every person, and the preservation of people's health is a significant task for the whole society. Migrants, like all other social groups, have needs for medical care, and, depending on the situation, special needs related to the impact of the migration process on health. Providing migrants with equal and fair access to medical care benefits the whole society, as it reduces the disease burden, increases well-being and improves public health. Unfortunately, equal access to medical care for migrants can be difficult due to a number of obstacles, such as language and cultural barriers, financial difficulties, administrative obstacles, and even the lack of awareness of migrants themselves about their right to receive medical care.
In order to discuss ways to improve migrants' access to medical care and to consider the possibility of improving the coordination of state and public organizations in the field of health and migration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a seminar "Fundamentals of Migration Management: Migrant Health", which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Border Committee, as well as public associations and the academic community.
On the first day, the participants got acquainted with modern scientific data and international experience in the field of the impact of the migration process on health, international principles of management in the field of health and migration, the existing access of migrants to healthcare in Belarus. And on the second day, they applied their knowledge to develop proposals to improve the mechanisms of migrants' access to medical care and social support measures in Belarus.
The participants studied and used as an example of good practice the already existing mechanism for referral of victims of trafficking, within which state bodies, public associations and the International Organization for Migration cooperate to identify and assist victims of various types of exploitation. The seminar participants worked in teams to develop proposals, which will be supplemented and improved at subsequent seminars and round tables within the framework of the project, in order to put into practice effective, equitable and fair access of migrants to medical care.
The seminar was held within the framework of the project "Supporting National Capacities in Migration Health Focusing on Communicable Diseases", which is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Republic of Belarus in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus with the financial support of the IOM Development Fund.