About IOM-MHAC

Background

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) believes that an improved standard of physical, mental and social well-being enables migrants to substantially contribute toward the social and economic development of their home communities and host societies.

Hence, IOM Sri Lanka supports the effort of the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) in the early identification and treatment of immigrants with active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). To facilitate this process, the IOM Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC) in Colombo conducts Health Assessments for applicants referred to it by the Government of the UK.

People from selected countries with a high burden of TB, as defined by the World Health Organization, who are applying for a UK visa for a stay longer than 6 months, for the purposes of education, employment, etc. are required to undergo TB screening in order to be issued a certificate demonstrating that they are free of  the disease.

The UK government requires that both adults as well as their accompanying children of all ages undergo the health assessment at the IOM Migration Health Assessment Centre.

Applicants over the age of 11 years will be required to undergo a chest X-ray before they receive this certificate. If any symptoms or/and the chest X-ray suggest any sign of TB you will be referred for further investigations which will require up to 8 - 10 weeks.

We recommend therefore that you book your appointments for health assessment before confirming travel dates, and well in advance of any visa appointments, whenever possible.

Validity of the health assessment certificate: 6 months

Please see below for more information on this as well as the requirements for children under 11 years of age.

The MHAC in Figures

Migration health assessments are among the most well-established migration management services offered by IOM at an international level. 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.

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 global growth. From 2001 to 2010, the number of health assessments provided for both refugees and immigrants nearly tripled, reaching over one-quarter of a million assisted beneficiaries in 2010 in over 50 countries.

Principal Activities of the MHAC

  • Test applicants (who are 11 years and older) for infectious pulmonary tuberculosis, in accordance with the protocol established by the UK Department of Health. In some cases, testing may be done by third parties as arranged by IOM.
  • Issue certificates to those applicants whose assessment results are negative.
  • Refer applicants with infectious tuberculosis for treatment to national institutes applying World Health Organization tuberculosis treatment standards. Alternatively, IOM may provide tuberculosis treatment according to the said standards.
  • Tuberculosis treatment shall be at the applicant’s own cost. Cost of treatment of the disease identified will required to be borne by the applicant
  • Adhere to quality assurance and quality control principles throughout tuberculosis detection, issuance of the certificate and tuberculosis treatment processes when provided by IOM.
  • Set up and maintain a central database that will keep records of all applicants undergoing testing. UK officials will be given access to the database to verify certificate issuance, and evaluate the programme.
  • Provide the UK Department of Health with data and reports enabling programme evaluation.