Coordinated Response to Migration and Health Challenges in Southern Africa

Coordinated Response to Migration and Health Challenges in Southern Africa

Regional partners addressing migration and health challenges in Southern Africa convened in Pretoria, South Africa on the 27th of February.

The meeting sought to agree on the Terms of Reference for the Regional Migration and Health Partnership Forum, review the initial findings of a mapping exercise of regionally responses to migration and health in Southern Africa and discuss priority areas such as cross border referral and the SADC Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector.

The meeting followed an inaugural meeting held in September 2012 aimed at strengthening collaboration and coordination amongst organizations working to address health related issues among migrant and mobile populations in Southern Africa.

Partners who provide health related services and support to migrants, mobile populations and migration affected communities in the SADC region subsequently resolved to formally establish a partnership forum whose primary objectives are to strengthen collaboration between the partners and share lessons and experience on migration and health issues in the region.

“Partnerships, strengthened networks, coordination and collaboration are essential to complement and strengthen mutual outputs of IOM, regional partners, government and donors in order to achieve the strategic objective,” says IOM South Africa Acting Chief of Mission Dr. Erick Ventura.

Dr. Jo Vearey, Senior Researcher from the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) presented preliminary findings of a mapping of regional responses to migration and health in Southern Africa.

The mapping identified over 30 organizations engaging with migration and health with many focusing on the mining and transport sectors.  Key activities of these organizations include responding to health concerns (TB, HIV and Malaria), responding to the socioeconomic needs of sending communities (livelihoods, job creation, food security and agriculture) as well as responding to the health of organized migrant workers in the trucking and mining industries

“Cross-border treatment continuity and referral mechanisms for TB and HIV remain major concerns. There is a strong need for harmonization of protocols and processes and improved coordination, communication and collaboration between regional players with local and national initiatives”, says Dr. Jo Vearey, Senior Researcher at ACMS.

The need to develop and strengthen multi-sectoral partnerships and coordination among governments, stakeholders and migrants to support the implementation of programmes and policies addressing health vulnerabilities of migrants and migration affected communities is identified as a strategic objective in the IOM Health Promotion Strategy for East and Southern Africa.

Over the next 12 months the forum undertakes to meet quarterly, establish a communication and collaborative platform to share information and resources, build capacity and understanding migration and health of issues amongst partners and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure the forums accountability.

This forum was established under the Partnership on Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA) project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).