IOM launches project to improve TB treatment for migrants

May 21, 2023 | 09:00
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The project aims to improve access to TB diagnosis and treatment for cross-border migrants in the border areas between Vietnam and Cambodia and strengthen cross-border partnership and collaboration between health authorities in four provinces of An Giang and Tay Ninh in Viet Nam, as well as Svay Rieng and Takeo in Cambodia.

The International Organization for Migration has announced the launched the Phase 2 project on “Cross-border Tuberculosis (TB) Control Along the Viet Nam and Cambodia Border" in partnership with the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP), National Lung Hospital, Ministry of Health Viet Nam and National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CENAT) of Cambodia, with financial aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

IOM launches project to improve TB treatment for migrants
IOM is also working closely with the Migration Health Working Group, an inter- ministerial working group established to address important migrant health issues

Cross border migrants often face difficulties in accessing healthcare services due to a lack of health insurance, language barriers, limited understanding of the health-care system in the destination country, and discrimination.

These obstacles may cause delays in seeking TB diagnosis and treatment, as well as TB treatment interruption, resulting in poor treatment outcome and drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

In the WHO Global TB Report 2022, Vietnam remained one of 30 highest burden countries globally with TB and MDR-TB, whereas Cambodia has been phased out of list.

In 2020, IOM in partnership with NTP Vietnam and CENAT Cambodia conducted operational research to better understand the barriers to accessing and utilising TB diagnosis and treatment among cross-border migrants and their enabling factors in the aforementioned four provinces.

The results of this research provided a platform for relevant public health officials of the two governments to develop practical interventions for collaborative TB control in Vietnam and Cambodia border areas.

It also highlighted the limited collaboration and partnerships in the border area, which have significant scope for development and improvement to tackle cross-border TB issues more effectively. Importantly, healthcare providers participating in the study also expressed a willingness to work together to improve transnational collaborative mechanisms.

“Ensuring migrant health requires holistic efforts between countries involved in their migration process,” IOM chief of mission, Park Mihyung said.

“It is crucial that we develop and adapt a migrant-sensitive referral system for cross-border migrants with TB and facilitate the establishment of local TB and HIV/AIDS taskforces in An Giang, Tay Ninh, Svay Rieng, and Takeo provinces. That way, we can make sure that the treatment of TB for cross-border migrants remains uninterrupted through all health networks across borders."

Ensuring the health of migrants is recognized as a key global health goal by World Health Assembly and a tenet of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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