Mainstreaming Migrant Health in Kenya

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM this week organized a two-day national consultative forum to address health challenges facing the migrant community in Kenya.

The workshop, organized in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Kenyan Ministry of Health, is the second of its kind and provided a platform to discuss governance, policy, strategic direction, coordination and inclusiveness in health policy and service delivery.

Attendees included representatives from the government, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, UN organizations and development partners.

Kenya is a major transit country for migrants from the East and Horn of Africa travelling south to South Africa or north to the Middle East and Europe. Many of the migrants are undocumented and often face a number of social, legal and economic challenges, such as immigration status and language barriers, that deter them from accessing vital health-care services.

The meeting sought to promote dialogue that will help the government and development partners to include migrants in mainstream national health policies and strategies.

Since Kenya's first national consultation held in May 2011, various milestones have been achieved. These include the creation of a Technical Working Group by the Ministry of Health to spearhead the migrant health agenda and an analysis of the legal and policy framework on migration and health in Kenya (2013). This has resulted in government ownership of the need to provide more migrant-friendly health services.

Other achievements include a study on health vulnerabilities of urban migrants in the greater Nairobi that provided strategic information for monitoring migrants' health; and the launch of a National Strategy on HIV/AIDS and STI Combination Prevention Along Transport Corridors.