Migration Health

Healthy Migrants in Healthy Communities


Screening. IOM contributes to cross-border TB prevention and control by screening migrants for active TB prior to resettlement. In 2014, IOM migration health assessments took place in 77 countries worldwide, mostly in countries classified as mid- and high-tuberculosis burden.

Collaboration with National Tuberculosis Programmes (NTPs). Collaboration with National Tuberculosis Programmes (NTPs). In 2011, IOM worked to strengthen collaboration with NTPs of several countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Ukraine to eliminate TB among the migrant population. 

Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) TB management in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya. IOM is facilitating program management, treatment administration, TB laboratory and clinical care.

Magic Mountain in Damak, Nepal. In 2010, 1,102 "non-resettlement" refugees were screened for TB by the IOM laboratory with sputum smears and culture exams. Patients with MDR-TB and highly infectious pan-susceptible TB were isolated at the “Magic Mountain” Isolation Centre (MMIC).

TB Treatment. IOM Nepal, in 2010, in consultation with UNHCR and the NTP, implemented a project that harmonizes TB case detection and treatment protocols for Bhutanese refugees, irrespective of their resettlement status.

Laboratory Services. IOM performed about 260,000 radiological investigations in 2014, resulting in the identification of more than 12,000 (5%) presumptive TB diagnoses and referrals for migrants to undergo further laboratory investigations.

Radiological Services. More than 80 per cent of IOM screening locations are now utilizing digital X-rays. 

Migration Health Assessments

Migration Health Assessments are among the most well-established migration management services offered by IOM. Health assessments provide the opportunity to promote the health of migrants through the initiation of preventative and curative interventions for conditions that, if left untreated, could have a negative impact on the migrant's health and/or on the public health of the host communities.

Facts and Figures

The Migration Health Assessment and Travel Health Assistance Programme (HAP) represents the largest activity of IOM's Migration Health Division (MHD), in terms of migrants served, staff concerned and operational costs. Over the past decade, the Health Assessment Programme has experienced considerable growth. From 2001 to 2014, the number of health assessments provided for both refugees and immigrants more than tripled, reaching close to one-third of a million assisted beneficiaries in 2014 in 77 countries.

The breadth of services provided within the framework of the Health Assessment Programme has expanded as well, in terms of laboratory diagnostic capacity, number of processing sites and related services, such as outbreak management in refugee camps, vaccinations, health education and other public health activities.

IOM's Activities

IOM provides a package of services that comprises health assessments as well as travel assistance for migrants.

IOM employs panel physicians to administer or oversee the administration of comprehensive health assessment services that involve a medical screening, a review of the migrant's medical history, preventative or curative treatment, counselling and health education, and final preparation of required immigration health forms. Medical screenings serve to detect and diagnose health conditions of concern, such as tuberculosis (TB), sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), Hansen's disease (leprosy), HIV/AIDS, mental health and development disorders, substance abuse or certain chronic illnesses. As such conditions may be considered inadmissible by destination country governments, IOM provides treatment or referrals for treatment. Upon successful completion of treatment, migrants are able to continue the resettlement process. Additionally, health assessment services provide preventive measures, such as immunizations for major vaccine-preventable diseases, health education sessions and pre-and post-test counselling for HIV.

Travel Health Assistance is a Health Assessment-related service offered to address individual health and safety, and to manage conditions of public health concern as individuals move across geographical, health system and epidemiological boundaries. Within Health Assessment Programmes, pre-embarkation checks and pre-departure medical screenings are performed in order to assess a migrant's fitness to travel and/or to provide medical clearance. These measures also ensure that migrants are linked to and given appropriate referrals to medical services once they have arrived in their destination countries. Migrants who need medical assistance and care during travel are escorted by health professionals to avoid complications during transit.