The International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Migration Health activities in Sri Lanka work towards the vision enshrined in the 2013 National Migration Health Policy, one of the first of its kind in the region, which recognizes that migrants and mobile populations benefit from an improved standard of physical, mental and social well-being, which enables them to substantially contribute towards the social and economic development of their home communities and host societies.

Migrant Health Assessments

In line with the National Migration Health Policy, IOM continues to implement migration health assessments and provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in developing standards for implementing and monitoring pre-departure health assessments.

Since 2014, IOM has offered migrants direct access to health assessments. These migrant-friendly assessments are conducted at IOM’s dedicated health assessment facility established in Colombo. The centre adheres to international best practices and provides early detection and management of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and other conditions.

As of 2019, under the key results area of the National Migration Health Policy which calls for the establishment of health assessments for resident visa applicants to Sri Lanka, IOM has provided technical assistance to the MoH in developing and implementing an Inbound Health Assessment Centre to mitigate the impact of migrants’ disease burdens on national health and social services and to contribute to maximize the developmental impact of migrants into Sri Lankan society.

Technical Partnership

The risk of incidence of imported malaria cases in Sri Lanka is one of the major challenges to the national malaria programme, as the country has just been declared malaria-free. IOM’s health unit will therefore continue its partnership with the National Malaria Programme which was initiated in 2012.  Foreign visitors and Sri Lankan migrants returning from West African and other malaria endemic countries and regions are being screened for malaria upon arrival at the main international airport, using a rapid diagnostic test. The travellers identified as positive for malaria through an IOM-MOH jointly developed screening process are referred to the National Programme for Malaria for further investigation and treatment. This intervention has been commended by both the national and international health authorities.

IOM will also continue its support to 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 but will be coordinated by IOM’s Health Unit and will be in line with the Sri Lankan Government’s national policies.

Evidence-Based Policy Support

IOM’s research work in Sri Lanka supports and informs migration policy and practice across a broad range of inter-linked issues. IOM has undertaken policy-oriented and operational research based on pragmatic and evidence-based analysis over the years, which has informed the implementation of multiple projects of IOM and partners, and has also positively influenced national policy debates and stimulated new operational approaches and activities.

IOM’s sound ethics-based and principled approaches to research mean that international communities of practice welcome IOM’s research findings, and as such, IOM Sri Lanka has often been asked to disseminate its research findings through international academic journals, especially in the field of migration health. IOM’s research is not only therefore relevant to local contexts, but also to regional and international dialogues and practices.

IOM will build upon its extensive research practice in Sri Lanka by ensuring that research is included as an integral and inter-sectorial feature of its own programmes.

IOM has gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise during its first 12 years of operations in Sri Lanka. Research is just one important aspect of informing and building this knowledge. In line with IOM’s global institutional initiative in support of a more comprehensive approach towards knowledge management, IOM will work in the upcoming strategy period to improve its capacity to analyse, develop, process and share knowledge assets generated by its projects and processes, with a view to continue to add value to its work and that of its partners and beneficiaries.

Notice: Resumption of Operations at the Migrant Health Assessment Centre (MHAC) on IBSL Building.

After the suspension of its medical assessment due to the COVID-19 situation, we are pleased to announce that we have commenced our operations.

Please be aware that a limited number of appointments will be given due to the prevailing situation, with reduced capacity for the safety of migrants and staff.

Administrative Controls

  • 2-Stage Vetting Process to be followed – 1st during the scheduling and 2nd during the Triage at MHAC.
  • Do not report to MHAC for Health Assessment if experiencing respiratory symptoms – Fever, Cough, Sneezing, Difficulty in breathing.
  • Please bring your documents in a clear plastic folder.
  • Dress in right-sized, comfortable easy to robe and disrobe attire and shoes.
  • Applicants are discouraged from wearing jewellery or non-essential accessories (sunglasses/hats etc.).
  • Applicants are requested to bring only essential belongings to which would be put in the lockers using safe key storage.
  • No Parking facilities are available. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they arrange their commute accordingly. If commuting via public transport, strictly adhere to MOH guidelines on safe commute.

IPC Controls

  • Applicants will have to perform adequate hand washing following the WHO standards on entry to MHAC.
  • Applicants are requested to use a fresh mask when entering MHAC to ensure that they become part of the Infection prevention and control efforts.
  • Applicants are requested to support MHAC Colombo in the maintenance of adequate social distancing while at MHAC.
  • Applicants are requested to seek assistance if they need to discard their used masks or tissues while onsite in MHAC Colombo.
  • Applicants should disinfect their hands before and after signing the consent.
  • Applicants should disinfect their hands before and after every clinical encounter (Nurses/Doctors/Radiographer).
Notice: Resumption of Inbound Health Assessment Centre (IHAC) Operations.

After the suspension of its medical assessments due to the COVID-19 situation, we are pleased to announce that we have commenced our operations.

  • The Health Assessment Center will be contacting all applicants whose appointments were cancelled from the 17th of March 2019 onwards, to reschedule the same.
  • Applicants may call IHAC on 0112 209 600 regarding issues related to their health assessments. The online system ( is open to book appointments as well.
  • Please be aware that a limited number of appointments will be given due to the prevailing situation.
  • Kindly note that only the applicant will be allowed to enter the premises. Applicants are also advised to be at the center not more than 30 minutes prior to the appointment.
New Screening Measures

Please be aware that new screening measures have been put into place at the MHAC. These measures have been taken to protect your health and the health of others, in light of the ongoing outbreak of the novel Coronavirus.

  • Once you arrive, you will be directed to a triage area, where clinical staff will take your temperature and ask you a few questions.
  • Clients identified with symptoms or risk factors for Coronavirus at the MHAC will be requested to reschedule their appointments and will be provided with the appropriate guidance. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • Please do not attend your appointment if you are feeling unwell or have respiratory symptoms or a fever. Please contact IOM to reschedule your appointment.
  • IOM is committed to protecting the health of its clients and staff, and to contributing to local and national efforts to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

Furthermore, depending upon MoH / WHO recommendations we may have to minimize our operations.

We sincerely appreciate your understanding at this time.


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