Internal consultation to finalize toolkit assessing local health system capacity to manage large influxes of migrants


Staff from WHO/Europe at the internal consultation on the toolkit.

On 5 June 2015, the WHO/Europe Public Health Aspects of Migration (PHAME) project presented and discussed a toolkit for assessing health system capacity to manage large influxes of migrants. The objective of the meeting was to present the main points of the draft toolkit to relevant WHO/Europe technical units and programme managers, and to discuss the toolkit and possible areas for improvement.

Strengthening countries' capacity to address the public health challenges of large migration

Today, with the increasing numbers of migrants arriving at the Mediterranean borders of the WHO European Region, the active promotion and strengthening of migrant health policies and services remains essential. The public health challenges faced by recipient countries proved the need for a specific tool, informed by multidisciplinary scientific evidence, to assess and strengthen the capacity of local health systems to manage the public health aspects of migration.

The toolkit is a flexible document that can be adapted to the national context. It covers the acute phase of a large influx of migrants up until the early period after arrival and placement in their first accommodation facility. The aims of this toolkit are:

  • to promote intersectoral collaboration in the development and implementation of a health sector response to the arrival of large groups of migrants; and
  • to support health authorities and partners to identify gaps, build on existing capacities and develop informed health interventions for arrivals of large groups of migrants.

The WHO toolkit was improved during joint country assessment missions conducted with health ministries of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain that took place between June 2013 and February 2015. It will also be used and revised during an assessment mission to Serbia in late June 2015. After receiving input from the participants of this consultation, the PHAME project team will finalize the toolkit and present it at a ministerial lunch on migration and health at the 65th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe on 14 September 2015.