Photo: Nyokabi Kahura
Sida's support for migrant health and rights in southern and eastern Africa
Sida supports the fight for migrant health and rights through the regional programme Phamesa II (Partnership on Health And Mobility in East and Southern Africa). This is in partnership with the UN agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The programme is being implemented in eleven African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Zambia, for example, receives migrants from several different countries in the region, mainly from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Zambia has taken a political position to stop and reduce the spread of HIV, paying particular attention to the vulnerable situation of migrants.
The programme works with HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health and rights. It has a focus on the mining and transport sectors, the fishing industry and urban communities since the spread of infection, such as HIV, is high among labour migrants moving across borders.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provides technical support to local partners such as Mulangile Women Organisation (MWO). IOM works on three levels; concretely with individuals but also with institutions and with overall strategic advocacy.
In Zambia, through its local partners, IOM trains the volunteers who run door-knocking campaigns in their neighbourhoods, for example. They might then talk about the stigmatisation of HIV and AIDS and about the possibilities to have themselves tested and receive support. Conversations might also be about contraception or gender-based violence. MWO is one of many local organisations working with, e.g. HIV prevention and environmental health issues in three city districts around Lusaka.
The programme's long-term goal is to contribute to an improvement in the physical, mental and social well-being of migrants and communities affected by migration in the two regions of eastern and southern Africa and to participate in the social and economic development of these communities.
IOM works specifically in the region to monitor migrant health development, influence legal and policy frameworks covering the rights of migrants to health, increase their access to healthcare and to create regional partnerships and networks to raise the human rights of migrants.
Migration and increased mobility make a positive contribution to social and economic development, but can also entail risks such as greater social vulnerability and poverty, including the risk of contracting HIV and other diseases. People working along the transport corridors, such as lorry drivers, run a greater risk of being infected due to widespread prostitution along roads and at border posts where they often have to stop and wait for permission to drive on.
- In total, more than 900,000 people have been reached by information and access to healthcare
- Over 1,500 volunteers have been trained in 2016
- 1,200 people in the health sector have received training on the right of migrants to health. Of these, about 85 per cent are health workers for local organisations and 15 per cent work at clinics
- 1,400 members of civil society organisations and governments have received training on migration and health issues in order to increase knowledge and access to healthcare for migrants. These persons might include local and traditional leaders, employees at health ministries and representatives of local organisations.