February 23, 2017
Health leaders of 40 countries adopted the “Colombo Statement” in order to address health challenges posed by increasingly mobile populations. The statement was adopted on February 23th, the closing day of the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health, which was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Colombo Statement calls for mainstreaming migrant health into key national, regional and international policies. It promotes international solidarity for equitable migrant health policies, a shared research agenda and the development of a global framework to ensure the protection of the health of migrants.
Leaving no one behind
With so many people on the move internationally, many health systems are struggling to adapt. As a result, access to health services for migrant populations is often inadequate. Health systems must thus be strengthened to provide equitable, non-discriminatory migrant centred health services.
In a press release, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director of South-East Asia, states: “Protecting the health of mobile populations is a public health and human rights imperative. Ensuring the highest attainable standard of health for all, including migrants and refugees, is something we must all strive towards, and is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of leaving no one behind.”
It is expected the Colombo Statement will feed into the World Health Assembly (the main WHO governing body) in May 2017, where the 194 countries that are members of the WHO will deliberate on priority action to protect migrants’ right to health.
Source: Press release Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka, IOM and WHO, 23 February 2017
Download Colombo Statement on Migrant Health (PDF)