Migration Health

From Mogadishu to Belet Weyne, IOM Celebrates Global Handwashing Day in Somalia

On 15 October 2015, IOM and local implementing partners in settlements for internally displaced people (IDPs) across Somalia joined millions of people around the world to wash their hands with soap at special events marking Global Handwashing Day.

Population Mobility and Malaria


A medical staff conducts malaria testing at an IOM clinic in Myanmar. Access to diagnostic services is a key component in the fight against malaria as early detection and prompt treatment prevents deaths and reduces transmission.© IOM 2013 

By Colin Ward, Nenette Motus and Davide Mosca

Today’s globalised world is witnessing unprecedented human mobility and migration trends. There are 214 million international migrants, along with 740 million internal migrants. One out of 7 persons is on the move. The increasingly multi-directional massive movements of people with marked feminisation raises complex implications on global health throughout the phases of migration – before departure, during travel and transit, at destination and upon return.

Touched by an Angel


IOM staff Saw Thandar with village child she and Myanmar Artemisinin Resistance Containment (MARC) team members saved from malaria. © IOM 2014

At last year’s Thingyan Water Festival (and New Year) in Myanmar, two alert volunteers of IOM’s community-based Myanmar Artemisinin Resistance Containment (MARC) Project for Mobility Impacted Communities in Mon State put the festivities on hold when they noticed a child displaying symptoms of severe malaria.

How to reach the missing three million


Ma Khine Khine Win receives TB advice from an outreach health worker.

By Naomi Mihara

Ma Khine Khine Win could easily have become one of the missing three million.  Born and raised in a small village in Tharyarwati township, Bago District, Myanmar, she moved with her family to join other migrants seeking work in a village in Kyaikmayaw township, Mon state – over 300 km away.  She knew she was suffering from poor health, but poverty prevented her from accessing health care.

South Africa’s Migrant Mining Labor Force: Bringing Home the Bacon and TB


Working in crowded conditions, miners are especially vulnerable to TB.

By Anthony Caingles

South Africa’s mining industry is highly dependent on migrant workers coming from neighboring countries like Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. These men travel from their villages to their mineral-rich neighbor to earn a living and to take home some income to their families.  Unfortunately, they often bring home something else. Tuberculosis.

Sustained Action for Migrants’ Health in a Post-2015 TB Strategy


An IOM worker (right) with a TB patient at a health post in Mae La settlement, Northern Thailand. © IOM/Joe Lowry 2012

By Dr. Poonam Dhavan

As medical doctors, we are trained to identify disease agents, attack them with effective drug therapies and interrupt the natural history of infections that could lead to severe disability or even death for our patients. As public health practitioners—we decide when more is needed. Disease control is not merely about one patient – it is about detection, treatment and care in the population or communities at large.

Rana Samundra Trophy for IOM Nepal’s TB Reach Project

Reaching Higher Ground with Groundbreaking TB Detection Technology


GeneXpert molecular diagnostic technology has contributed to more efficient and specific TB diagnosis in Nepal

by Anthony Caingles

On World TB Day, 24 March 2014, the International Organization for Migration – Nepal (IOM) was awarded the Rana Samundra trophy by the National Tuberculosis Center (NTC) for having introduced the molecular diagnostic tool GeneXpert in Nepal.  

Now wash your hands, please


By Hussein Mohamed Hassan and Mary Sanyu Osire

The heat dulls my senses as I walk into Kabasa IDP settlement in Dollow, Gedo Region, Somalia. Spurred by community workers, residents flock in their hundreds to a makeshift shelter in the middle of the IDP settlement. Soon, the air is filled with laughter, as women twist their waists to enchanting Somali music. After speeches, hygiene sensitization poems, and hand washing demos, families queue to receive bars of soap, and water containers.

Here’s the thing: This is the second consecutive year that IOM is coordinating ‘Global Hand Washing Day’ activities across Somalia – but is our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program making a difference?

Under the bridge


(Photo by Mikel Flamm)

By Joe Lowry

Doy Sen is 24 and has a permanent look of confusion etched upon his face. He left his native town of Tuanggoo, Myanmar ten years ago because of the conflict there. “I am not from a poor family”, he says, but now he is, indisputably, badly off. Three years ago he “settled” under his bridge on highway 1095, where he lives in a mosquito net, his clothes hanging on a line, his pots and plates his only real possessions. His nearest neighbours are two oxen.

Friends with Benefits? Migrants on the Move


By Joe Lowry

Most people understand the need to screen for TB when people are on the move: it ensures they are healthy to travel, that they will not carry disease with them and that they will be able to work when they get to their destination countries. But here's the thing: IOM also sets out to ensure the health rights of migrants, which means providing health services for people at all stages of the migration cycles.

Last Night A Smartphone Saved My Life


By Leonard Doyle

Social media enthusiasts love making annoying, unverifiable claims about their tweets, likes and follows. The biggest offenders have a peculiarly anti-social tic of looking down at their smartphones rather than looking you in the eye.

Dr Zhivago and his Amazing Clinic


By Miguel Meñez

I have a great concept for the next medical drama.  No, it’s not Dr. Zhivago (for those who remember him) and no, it’s not Gray’s Anatomy (although you could argue that there’s a handsome McDreamy-like doctor in it) and no, it’s not House with his mind-bending medical mysteries.  I got the idea for my version of ER by visiting the 15th floor of Trafalgar Place in the middle of swanky Makati City in the Philippines.