Migration Health

IOM Sri Lanka’s Migration Health Unit functions in all three of the following programmatic areas of migration health:

Strengthening Border Health Systems:

One of the priority areas identified in the National Migration Health Policy for early implementation under the key strategic area of inbound migration is the strengthening of core capacities and quarantine activities at Sri Lankan ports of entry. Cross-border migration is increasingly becoming a challenge to the health authorities. With IOM’s assistance to the Ministry of Health (MoH), a comprehensive border health system was launched in 2013 to minimize the risk of the cross-border transmission of disease. 

IOM is buiding on its on-going support to the MoH and other national entities to achieve its aim of island wide expansion and the integration of the border health strategy to both international airports and all five seaports. An empirical assessment of the existing border health systems and systematic evaluation of health services provided at the points of entry (air and seaports) and national travel vaccination centres was recently undertaken by the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Quarantine with IOM’s support. The results of this assessment were later used to inform the development of a national border health strategy which includes the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for border health officials. The SOPs, developed withIOM support, outline routine quarantine health
functions, the revision of legislation and the establishment of the border health information system. They also provide technical guidance in managing events of public health importance.

Building upon this formative phase of developing SOPs, piloting the border health information system, and building the capacity of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in addressing cross-border health issues, in the upcoming strategic period IOM will assist the MoH in undertaking a ‘roll-out’ of the border health strategy. This will occur via national level training of the relevant border officials at all points of entry (sea and land ports) on implementing the developed SOPs, as well as by integrating the pilot border surveillance system into these settings. To complement the roll-out process, IOM will conduct a scientific review of the current operational status of Sri Lanka’s National Border Health Information System.

Migration Health Assessments and Travel Health Assistance:

The IOM Migration Health Unit possesses the capacity to carry out health assessments for various categories of migrants. These include resettled refugees, labour migrants and displaced persons, either before departure or upon arrival.

This activity facilitates the reduction and management of the potential public health impact of human mobility on migrants, receiving countries and host communities.

In line with the National Migration Health Policy, IOM conducts migration health assessments and gives technical assistance to the MoH in developing standards for pre-departure health assessments. IOM offers direct access to health assessments for inbound and outbound migrants. These migrant-friendly health assessments are conducted at IOM’s dedicated health assessment facility, established in 2014 in Colombo. Adhering to international best practices, the centre currently provides pre-departure health assessment services to Sri Lankans immigrating to the United Kingdom. This includes the early detection and management of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

This programme has the potential to expand based on the requirements of other receiving countries.

For further information, please see Migration Health Assessment Centre.

Facilitating Partnerships on Migrant Health:

IOM supports Sri Lanka’s well-established national vertical health programmes to address migratory related health issues. These programmes include the National Anti-Malaria Campaign, National Programme on Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases, and the Sexually Transmitted Diseases & HIV/AIDS Control Programme. Health promotion activities will be conducted across various IOM projects and coordinated by IOM’s Health Unit in line with the Sri Lankan Government’s national policies.

For further information on Migration Health in Sri Lanka, please see www.migrationhealth.lk