IOM, Puebla Process Countries meet to discuss migration health in the Americas

News Hour:

IOM took part in the Workshop on Migration Health held in San Jose, Costa Rica on 28-29 September 2016.

The event was sponsored by Costa Rica’s Dirección General de Migración and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and co-organized by IOM and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO WHO) through the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) or “Puebla Process”.

It was the first time since 2004 that RCM governments have met to discuss migration health. They took stock of migration and health developments and practices, and articulated regional priorities on migrant health in the context of the 2030 Agenda. They also discussed social determinants of health and global health initiatives, such as Universal Health Coverage.

The RCM’s member states include Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States.

The event, in the world’s largest migration corridor, also considered the 2008 World Health Assembly Resolution on migrant health and, amidst health emergencies such as the Zika virus, other health and political challenges in the region.

Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean said: “Migrants face numerous situations having potential negative consequences for their health: women are exposed to risks and dangers related to their sexual and reproductive health; migrants’ mental health is at stake owing to the circumstances of their displacement and abuses they are exposed to during the journey; and their physical health is a concern as they are subject to poor nutrition and housing, and long and exhausting journeys. In addition, legal barriers and administrative obstacles prevent irregular migrants from proper access to health services.”

He also noted the importance of multi-sectoral and multi-national work, as well as the generation of inclusive policies and programs, based on the respect for human rights, to address the issue of migration and health.

The meeting was also attended by international organizations as observers, including IOM, UNHCR, ILO and ICRC. The role of international organizations in the Puebla Process is to support the implementation of selected projects that governments identify, provide information, technical advice and recommendations on specific topics of interest.

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