IOM Strengthens Belarus' Capacity to Protect Migrant Health
Minsk, Belarus – On 15 July, the first meeting of the Coordination Council of IOM's project in the field of migration and health "Supporting National Capacities in Migration Health Focusing on Communicable Diseases" was held.
Members of the Project Coordinating Council met to discuss international and regional best practices with regards to the healthcare programmes and to outline a plan of project activities.
At the opening of the event, Aleksandr Tarasenko, Deputy Minister of Healthcare, and Mahym Orazmuhammedova, Chief of IOM Belarus Mission, stressed the need for a comprehensive interagency approach to providing medical care to migrants as a vulnerable group. The very process of displacement increases the risk of communicable diseases. In addition, there have traditionally been barriers to migrants' access to health services, such as low level of awareness, their legal status in the host country, stigma and discrimination.
Equal access to healthcare is a priority for an effective public health system, as noone is safe unless everyone is safe.
"Reducing the health risks associated with migration and ensuring equal access to health services for migrants and their families is an important aspect of reducing migrants' vulnerability, ensuring their well-being and improving public health indicators in countries of origin and destination, and achieving the positive impact of migration on community development", - noted Mahym Orazmuhammedova.
"The project will be essential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the good health and well-being, and reducing inequalities", - added Aleksandr Tarasenko.
The project consists of the following components:
- data collection and analysis regarding the health of migrants and their needs, and the capacity of the healthcare system to meet them;
- analysis of national and international legislation regarding the regulation of healthcare for migrants, as well as the development of recommendations to improve migrants' access to healthcare and public health measures;
- interagency capacity-building activities for government agencies regarding migrant health issues;
- activities to improve migrants' access to existing programmes for the prevention and control of communicable diseases, including vaccination against COVID-19.
The project "Supporting National Capacities in Migration Health Focusing on Communicable Diseases" is implemented by the International Organization for Migration in Belarus in cooperation with the Ministry of Healthcare of Belarus and with financial support of the IOM Development Fund.