MEDICAL HEALTH UNIT
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. Bridging the needs of both migrants and IOM member states, the Migration Health Division (MHD), in close collaboration with partners, contributes towards the physical, mental and social well-being of migrants and mobile populations, enabling them and host communities to achieve social and economic development. Migrants and mobile populations face many obstacles in accessing essential health care services due to several factors including irregular immigration status, language barriers, a lack of migrant-inclusive health policies, and inaccessibility of services. Such disparities impact the well-being of migrants and host communities and undermine the realization of global health goals, such as preventing, treating and eliminating HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and human influenza. Therefore, to achieve the IOM goal of “healthy migrants in healthy communities” MHD provides comprehensive, preventive and curative health service for the migrants and mobile populations through a dignified manner to ensure those services are beneficial, accessible, and equitable for the beneficiaries.
IOM, on the other hand, has been instrumental in organizing campaigns using an innovative and interactive approach combining information dissemination about the risks of drug use and skill-building to targeted beneficiaries in migrant communities to promote mental health through preventing substance abuse and providing psychosocial support in different countries. As a member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Global Health Cluster, and more recently, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and one of the collaborating partners of WHO, IOM is an increasingly key player in responding to humanitarian and public health emergencies, as well as supporting health system recovery and resilience. IOM’s health response to humanitarian and public health emergencies aims to save lives, reduce morbidity, and alleviate suffering while upholding humanitarian principles and protect human dignity. Moreover, health is an integrated component of IOM’s overall humanitarian response, particularly in natural disasters where IOM is a Camp Coordination and Management Cluster lead. Globally IOM assists crisis-affected populations, governments, and host communities to strengthen and re-establish primary health care systems in different countries.
In Turkey, IOM MHD carries out Migration Health Assessment (MHA) for migrants and refugees resettling to third countries in order to minimize the potential public health threat of human mobility which otherwise, could have a negative impact on the migrants’ health, communities and public health of both sending and recipient countries. MHAs also prevent negative health events during travel or after the arrival of the beneficiaries through assessing a migrant’s fitness to travel, by assisting stabilization treatment and pre-departure care where needed or making special travel arrangements and through facilitating continuity of care upon arrival. Besides, MHD Turkey immunizes refugees against vaccine-preventable diseases, provides presumptive treatment, and supports positive health-seeking behaviors through health education and counseling that aim to empower beneficiaries to take preventative and curative actions to improve their health. Depending on the type of migrant and country-specific guidelines, the following services are provided by MHD Turkey to its prospective beneficiaries:
- Review of medical and immunization history
- Detailed physical examination and Mental health evaluation
- Radiological or laboratory investigations in collaboration with other stakeholders
- Pre- and post-test counseling
- Referral for consultation with a specialist
- Pre-embarkation/fitness-to-travel checks (PECs)
- Pre-departure medical procedures (PDMPs)
- Administration of vaccines
- Referral for directly observed treatment (DOT) for tuberculosis
- Sharing information or documentation to appropriate immigration or public health authorities with maintaining confidentiality.
- Providing medical escorts and arrangements for travel