DOH AND IOM RENEW COMMITMENT TO ADVANCE MIGRANT HEALTH
Last March 9, 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) strengthened their commitment to work in addressing the health and well-being, vulnerabilities and challenges faced by Filipino migrants through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by DOH Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin, represented by DOH Undersecretary Lilibeth C. David, and the IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Mr. Marco Boasso.
The agreement which aims to facilitate cooperation in migration health-related activities at the national, regional and international level started in 2013 when the first MOA was signed. This partnership enabled collaboration on key actions including policy development, capacity building, research and advocacy.
“International migration has become an important feature of globalized labor markets in health care and policies that address migration-related health vulnerabilities, non-communicable diseases, mental health, occupational health, environmental health and access to migrant-friendly health care services must be promoted in order to achieve global sustainable development goals and equitable health for all,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin stated.
The DOH-IOM collaboration seeks to map the status of migration and health in the Philippines. This project will continue to lay down the foundation for the development of policies, programs and activities in migration and health. Migration has increasingly moved up in the government agenda with approximately 10 million Filipino migrants overseas and the reports on the conditions in which migrants travel, work and live carry significant risk to their physical and mental well-being.
The signing of the MOA was witnessed by the Philippine Migrant Health Network members. The renewal of the MOA is a welcome development as the DOH officially takes on migrant health as a priority agenda with the issuance of the Administrative Order (AO) No. 2016-0007 on the National Policy on the Health of Migrants and Overseas Filipinos. This sets the national policy direction on addressing the health of migrants and Overseas Filipino and the establishment of a Migrant Health Unit at the Department.
Meanwhile, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso commended the timely renewal of the partnership and extended his appreciation to the DOH for all its achievements. He recognized the Philippines’ potential to be a champion for migration health at the regional and international level.
“Our main goal is to collectively look into the issue of migrants and their health and well-being, essentially putting the migrants at the center of the discourse, reminding ourselves to work hard so that universal health care will be achieved and no migrant will be left behind.” Garin concluded.