Nepal to Develop National Migration Health Policy

KATHMANDU: A meeting between Nepal's Ministry of Health and International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, held consultations on the development of a National Migration Health Policy to address migrant health issues, in Kathmandu, on Wednesday.

Issuing a joint press statement today, the IOM said migration continues to grow in Nepal as migrants have played significant role in country's economic development, face a range of health issues at home and abroad.

According to the Department of Foreign Employment, over half of all Nepalis households now have at least one migrant family member currently abroad or living in Nepal as a returnee.

Nepal ranks 23rd among all remittance-receiving countries in the world.

In tern of the contribution of remittances to GDP, it ranks third after Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic it said in the statement.

"We cannot achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 on universal health coverage unless the health needs of migrants and refugees are met. This policy will provide an opportunity to promote a more coherent and integrated approach to heal, beyond the treatment of specific diseases for all populations, including migrants, irrespective of their legal and migratory status," said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton.

The police aims to reduce health vulnerabilities of migrant workers in all stages of the migration cycle and also protect the health of host communities from public health threats related to migration, as stated in the statement.

The National Migration Health Policy is part of a project: “Strengthening Government Capacity in the Development and Implementation of a National Strategic Action Plan on Migration and Health in Nepal,” implemented by IOM in collaboration with Ministry of Health.

The project is funded by IOM Development Fund.

The meeting was attended by government officials, UN agencies, development partners, NGOs, academia, the private sector and media.