Building alliances for the global governance of migration and health

Jo Vearey, Miriam Orcutt, Larry Gostin, Christy Adeola Braham and Patrick Duigan

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4143 (Published 16 September 2019)

“A collective, alliance based programme of action on migration and health that brings together civil society, practitioners, policy makers, and researchers is needed. A central “point-person” to drive and coordinate this process would need to be identified within central government; in different contexts, different focal persons may exist. Sri Lanka is a rare example of a country with a dedicated—and well documented—national migration and health policy process that can provide helpful insight for other countries. To support innovation and context specific alliance building, research is required to document and evaluate existing migration and health interventions and policies.”

“Crucially, there is a need to develop ways to future proof the global governance of migration and health: this is a contemporary governance priority for both the global health and migration sectors. If migration and health governance continues to be sidelined, it jeopardises action towards major global health targets, including those associated with the sustainable development goals, most notably that of universal health coverage. Two global compacts (international principles for good practice) were adopted in December 2018: one focuses on international migration and the other on refugees. These compacts provide opportunities for nation states to implement good governance approaches to tackle migration and health. Whether nation states choose a governance approach based on increasingly nationalistic discourses or an evidence informed approach to healthy migration remains to be seen. Developing a national scorecard on Migration and Health in all Policies, similar to the established Health in All Policies approach, could be an important step in holding nation states to account on their commitments both to universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals. To truly “leave no one behind” there must be a concerted global effort to build alliances to include migration and health in all policies.”

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