Within its Migration Health Division (MHD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in its role as the leading UN organization working on migration, delivers and promotes comprehensive, preventive and curative health programmes which are beneficial, accessible, and equitable for migrants and mobile populations. Bridging the needs of both migrants and IOM member states, MHD, in close collaboration with partners, contributes towards the physical, mental and social well-being of migrants, enabling them and host communities to achieve social and economic development.
Migration is now a global phenomenon with close to 272 million international migrants (UNDESA, 2019) and an estimated 740 million internal migrants on the move (IOM, 2015), and must be recognized as a social determinant of health; mobility not only impacts upon an individual’s physical vulnerability, but also on mental and social well-being. Migrants and mobile populations face many obstacles in accessing essential health care services due to a number of factors including irregular immigration status, language barriers, a lack of migrant-inclusive health policies and inaccessibility of services. Such disparities impact the well-being of migrants and host communities and undermine the realization of global health goals, such as preventing, treating and eliminating HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and human influenza. High morbidity and mortality among migrants, especially in irregular, forced, or exploitative migration situations is also an underestimated critical health concern that deserves international attention.