Countries of South-eastern Europe come together to discuss common policy approaches to health and migration

On 19-20 March 2015, representatives from the Ministries of Health of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Israel, the United Nations Administered Province of Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met in Tirana, Albania, for a two-day workshop on public health policies for migration. The event was organized by the Technical Assistance Information Exchange instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX) in cooperation with the Institute of Public Health of Albania and the Regional Health Development Centre (RHDC) on Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases. Representatives from the WHO/Europe project 'Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe' (PHAME), the European Commission, the International Organization for Migration and the Centre for Social Science and Global Health (CSSGH) made presentations at the meeting.

Promoting cross-sectoral and cross-border initiatives for health and migration

The event was opened by representatives of the Ministries of Health and Interior of Albania, a country which is increasingly becoming a transit area for migrants coming from Middle Eastern countries and heading Europe. In their presentations, the need for cross-sectoral approaches was highlighted in order to take into consideration the impact of interventions and policies across governmental sectors on migrants' health. 

In relation to this, on the one hand, TAIEX of the European Commission is a coordination mechanism which is not used exclusively by the health sector and thus has the potential to bring harmonization across sectors for migration. On the other hand, the South-Eastern European Health Network (SEEHN) has a long experience in implementing cross-country initiatives for health. Therefore, the combination of this instrument and platform along with the active engagement of the several sectors and the technical assistance of international organizations might provide a sub-regional response to the public health needs of migration in accordance with the whole-of governance approach of the European policy framework Health 2020.