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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) launches a new information platform on health and migration in the Americas



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Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2022. 8:03 p.m. CST.

By Aaron Humes: Members of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have a new tool to manage the health needs of the growing number of migrants in the region.

The Information Platform on Health and Migration in the Americas aims to fill the regional data gap on migration and health by providing countries with an easy-to-use, interactive digital repository of related research and information from all Americas. This will facilitate knowledge sharing and allow governments to develop policies and initiatives that respond to the needs of the growing number of migrants.

The Americas currently face one of the greatest situations of human displacement in the world, with the number of migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean having more than doubled since 2005 to reach 15 million in 2022, according to the International Organization for migration (IOM). However, gaps in health and migration data present challenges when it comes to developing informed public health interventions for migrants.

In the Americas, poverty, violence, political instability, food insecurity, economic hardship and environmental events are among the main drivers of migration. The region is also characterized by northward migratory flows, both from the continent itself, as well as from parts of Africa and Asia. The lasting social, health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated many of these issues.

The platform was developed in collaboration with the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Argentina and the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile and will provide governments with information on the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks on health and migration of 19 countries in the region, and will also serve as a repository for scientific literature on the subject.

The information platform aims to galvanize “action to protect the health of migrants, the health of populations in host countries and bring us closer to achieving universal health”, said Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Deputy Director of PAHO.

Millions of migrants in the Americas face a number of health barriers, including a lack of access to primary health care, medicines, vaccines, and mental health services.

Migrants may also be at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to poor living and working conditions that prevent social distancing, especially in shelters.

During the migration process, migrant children and adolescents, as well as older migrants and pregnant women, also face additional health risks, including disruption of antenatal and postnatal services, dehydration, hypertension and exposure to gender-based violence and abuse.

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