Migration and Health

Migration Health

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About the Programme

Migration and Health initiatives are aimed at addressing the health vulnerabilities and challenges faced by migrants and migration affected communities. This is done by responding to the health needs of migrants and the host communities in which migrants live.

IOM promotes Healthy Migrants in Healthy Communities through:

· Service Delivery and Capacity Building;

· Advocacy for Policy Development;

· Research and Information Dissemination;

· Regional Coordination; and

· Governance and Control.

Migration and mobility are key livelihood and survival strategies for many households in Southern Africa. Many people including young women and girls are migrating to escape hardship resulting from failed economies, protracted civil unrest, social marginalization, and other reasons. Crossing international borders, they may face harsh conditions, making them vulnerable to negative Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) outcomes.

Current Project:

Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)-HIV Knows No Border

The SRHR/HIV Knows No Borders is a collaborative consortium between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the lead agency, Save the Children Netherlands (SC) and Witwatersrand School of Public Health (WSPH) to improve sexual and reproductive health and HIV (SRH-HIV) related outcomes amongst migrants (including migrant adolescents, young people and sex workers) as well as non-migrant adolescents, young people, sex workers and others living in migration-affected communities. The project is implemented in six countries :Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

In South Africa it is implemented in Ekurhuleni in Gauteng and 12 villages in Nkomazi in Mpumalanaga.

SRHR is critical to individuals’ quality of life and to the broader health and development agenda; it is intrinsically linked with many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most maternal and new-born deaths can be prevented by improved access to well-integrated reproductive health services such as antenatal care. In addition to this, access to family planning, prevention of early and unwanted pregnancies gives individuals greater control of their lives and an opportunity to actualise their aspirations.Morever, SRH information and services are vital to overcome the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Improving SRHR promotes gender equality, by eliminating discrimination, violence and unfair treatment on the basis of gender. Finally, SRHR highlights the right of all individuals – regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, status and other factors – to make their own decisions regarding their sexuality, bodily integrity and reproduction, based on sound information.

The project is guided by the SDG 2030 agenda of “leaving no one behind”, and in particular goal no. 3 which focuses on well being and health and goal no. 5 which focuses on gender equality:

TARGET 3.1: Reduce the global maternal mortality
TARGET 3.3: End the epidemics of AIDS and other communicable diseases by 2030
TARGET 3.7: Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services including family planning, information and education as well as integration of SRH into national strategies and programmes
TARGET 5.3: Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child and early marriage
TARGET 5.6: Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights

Promotion of the SDGs means that migrants health is considered in universal health coverage, health policies and health service provision. Improving the health of migrants is a fundamental precondition to work, be productive and contribute to society, contributing to other targets.

To promote this the SRHR-HIV/AIDS Knows No Borders Project:

· Creates demand for services amongst targeted population SRHR/HIV & AIDS through peer led health promotion in the communities where the project is implemented.

· Strengthens service provision to promote availability and utilisation of responsive services that take into consideration the rights and needs of migrants, sex workers and adolescent and young people (AYPs).

· Work with local leaderships/gatekeepers to ensure that social norms that undermine positive sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS outcomes are addressed in the community.

· Facilitate multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination at various government levels in order to strengthen service provision.

· Advocate for the mainstreaming of migration in health monitoring systems and programming in order to generate much-needed evidence about SRHR and needs for migrants, AYPs and SWs.

· Facilitate the coordination of SRHR policy dialogue and empower the networks of migrants, AYPs, and SWs to ensure their voices are heard and valued in these dialogues.


Donor: Kingdom of the Netherlands



  • Kingdom of the Netherlands


Wambui Gititu - wgititu@iom.int