News: IOM AND WHO TO SRENGHTEN COLLABORATION ON MIGRATION AND HEALTH ISSUES

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Subject: News: IOM AND WHO TO SRENGHTEN COLLABORATION ON MIGRATION AND HEALTH ISSUES
From: A. Jordan (annj@hrlawgroup.org)
Date: Sat Oct 09 1999 - 16:34:21 EDT


IOM AND WHO TO SRENGHTEN COLLABORATION ON MIGRATION AND HEALTH ISSUES

4 October 1999
No 835

The Directors General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed today in Geneva a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaboration between both
organizations to "better meet the health needs of migrants and other
displaced persons".

Taking advantage of their mutually complementary core competencies, IOM and
WHO will together aim to protect and improve the health status of the
world's migrants. Specific efforts will be made to reduce the mortality,
morbidity and disability among migrants; to provide them with better health
services; and to campaign for effective international health policies and
infrastructures for migrants.

The MOU and its new working arrangements enter into force today upon the
signature by the two Directors General. In an initial period, areas of work
are likely to focus on technical cooperation programs addressing the needs
of migrants, specific health programs for migrants and migrant communities,
addressing health needs in post-conflict societies, and promoting
harmonization of international legislation and regulations concerning the
control of the international spread of infectious diseases.

"Although WHO and IOM have worked together in common areas of interest for
many decades, this MOU marks a big step forward in formalizing and deepening
our cooperation. In the world today there are many, many millions of people
in post-conflict situations and in, perhaps, tenuous situations in countries
to which they have migrated for economic or political reasons, who do not
have adequate access to health care and are at great risk from disease,
reproductive, mental and other health problems. Together we can do so much
more for them and I look forward to our cooperation", said Dr Gro Harlem
Brundtland, Director General of WHO.

Mr. Brunson McKinley, Director General of IOM, added this comment:

"Many of IOM's activities involve direct interaction with migrants and
mobile populations in a variety of environments from regular immigration to
post-conflict scenarios. This contact provides both insight into and
opportunities to improve the health of these individuals. As issues of
population mobility and health become more prominent, we have seen an
increasing interest in the science and practice of migration health. The
sharing of experiences and perspectives in this area between IOM and WHO is
an activity that has gone on for many years. We hope that the document we
have formalized today can further facilitate collaboration in the dynamic
and important interface between health and migration."

The International Organization for Migration is an intergovernmental body
active in providing services to migrants and governments around the world.
The WHO, founded in 1948, is the United Nations System agency for the
protection and improvement of Public Health.

For further information please call Mr. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM, Geneva,
(+41 22) 717 9361


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