[NEWS] MHADRI interns working to map migration and health research

By Holly McCarthy and Pearl Agbenyezi, MHADRI/maHp interns


If the Migration and Health Project Southern Africa (maHp) is trying to improve responses to migration and health in southern Africa by generating and communicating knowledge… who is trying to action this on a global scale? The Migration Health and Development Research Initiative (MHDRI) – that’s who!

Aimed at advancing collaboration between migration and health researchers, MHADRI – just like maHp – encourages the use of evidence-informed action to improve the health and wellbeing of those affected by migration. MHADRI is a network of active migration and health researchers focused on advancing ethical, inter-disciplinary research in these fields, with the hope of enhancing collaborations, resource accessibility and data sharing. MHADRI – of which the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is secretariat – is a network committed to the meaningful representation of researchers in the global south, as well as the development and support of early-career researchers. However, in order to achieve its goals, the MHADRI network needs to engage in conversations with migration and health researchers to better understand the gaps that need to be filled.

Luckily, MHADRI has interns.

We are Pearl Agbenyezi and Holly McCarthy – students of the Ethnic and Migration Studies programme at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO) at Linköping University in Sweden. So how did two Masters’ students studying in Northern Europe end up in South Africa writing a blog post for maHp?

Well, we are exchange students – currently interning as research assistants with MHADRI – at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand. After taking Professor Jo Vearey’s Psychosocial and Health Consequences of Migration and Displacement module at the ACMS, the opportunity arose for us to engage with migration and health challenges in a practical sense – a scoping project for MHADRI.

Pearl’s work involves talking to early-career migration and health researchers across the globe – some of whom are already MHADRI members, while others are looking to join – in order to gain an understanding of the motivations, challenges and opportunities available for early-career researchers. The goal is to establish how a network like MHADRI could connect these researchers, and provide a supportive platform for mentorship, capacity building and collaboration.

Meanwhile, Holly has been busy interviewing leading migration and health researchers in the global South regions. Through this ongoing scoping exercise, we hope to identify and map existing gaps in migration and health governance  research and access to resources  in order to determine how MHADRI can play a role in addressing these gaps. So far, our discussions with researchers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Uganda have revealed much about the informal networks that exist between researchers, as well as frustrations with migration and health governance in these regions. We will publish a report summarising our findings, and to profile the work and reflections of some of our MHADRI members.

We hope that these conversations will help to strengthen the MHADRI network with the capacity to address some of the challenges faced by migration and health researchers around the world. You can visit MHADRI to search for existing members, browse migration and health updates, and apply for membership yourself!

Do you have something to say? Projects such as these are only enriched by a greater depth and breadth of reflections from those working in the migration and health space. If you are an early-career researcher with insights to share, please contact Pearl at mhadri.network2@gmail.com. And if you are an established migration and health researcher working in the global South who is interested in discussing the gaps in migration and health research, governance and resources please contact Holly at mhadri.network1@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you!

[originally posted online at https://goo.gl/6q7wcF%5D

Research Grants Available: International Society of Travel Medicine

Research Grants – International Society of Travel Medicine

2018-2019 Research Grant Application Forms are now being accepted
ISTM is pleased to offer Travel Medicine Research Grants to ISTM Members each year. Grants are awarded through a peer-review process implemented by the ISTM Research and Awards Committee. The awards are designed to stimulate travel medicine research by supporting comprehensive research projects or, for larger projects, providing support for pilot studies to enable researchers to collect data/test hypotheses so that they can then apply to other agencies for more substantive research grants.

Typical awards will be in the range of USD 5,000 to USD 10,000 although a single grant up to USD 40,000 will be considered for exceptional proposals. Detailed information on proposal criteria, as well as application forms, can be provided by the ISTM Secretariat.

ISTM offers a number of programs to help support and expand research in travel medicine. Each year, the Society supports research grants for cutting-edge research in the field.

It is hoped that these grants will stimulate travel medicine research by supporting comprehensive research projects or, for larger projects, provide support for pilot studies to enable researchers to collect data or test hypotheses.

Award requirements include:

  • Research must be travel medicine or immigrant/refugee health oriented
  • Application and protocol proposal must be scientifically sound and must be in accordance with international ethical guidelines
  • There must be no conflicts of interest for any of the investigators who apply for research funding
  • Grant applicants must be ISTM members in good standing
  • Projects should be able to be realistically completed using ISTM grant funding alone.

NB:  ISTM has opened the call for Research Award proposals to non-ISTM members who reside in countries identified by the World Bank as low income and low-middle income. We are committed to foster and support research in areas of the world where opportunities are otherwise limited. To see which countries are included, the World Bank economic listing can be found here.

[Call for papers] Special Issue “The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues”

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “The World in Crisis: Current Health Issues” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Articles are invited on a wide range of topics including, but not limited to disaster (e.g., flood, drought, hurricanes, tsunami), child trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse, malnutrition, food poisoning, refugee health, overweight, diseases associated with global warming (e.g., malaria, west Nile virus, zika virus, chikungunya, dengue fever), access to health care, climate change, environment quality, disease outbreak, tobacco, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, mental health, yellow fever, meningitis, diphtheria, cholera, and pandemic influenza.

We are especially interested in manuscripts that address local, regional and international collaboration and geopolitical solutions to complex public health crises occurring throughout the world.

Dr. Jimmy T. Efird
Dr. Pollie Bith-Melander
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019

International Consultation on Pre-Departure Health Assessments

The International Consultation on Pre-departure Health Assessments was held from 26th to 27th September 2017.  Hosted by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health with assistance from IOM, this successful event was attended by more than 80 academics, government representatives, and medical officers.

Some participants from the consultation also had the opportunity to further engage at the two-day Migrant Health and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI) Global Network Member Meeting held from 28th to 29th September. This international partnership of academic, policy and operational organizations provides research-based programming in the field of migration health. The MHADRI event provided a valuable opportunity to present the recommendations from the International Consultation on Pre-departure Health Assessments.

Read more about the meeting and access background materials and presentations here.


Participants of the International Consultation on Pre-Departure Health Assessment

[EVENT] 25th October 2018: Primary health care for the health of migrants

Side event to the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, Astana, Kazakhstan

 Primary health care for the health of migrants – the economic argument

25 October 2018, 12:45 – 13:45

Independence Palace, Astana, Kazakhstan, 1st floor, Room 3


Co-organized by IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan



Access of refugees and migrants to health services is often framed within a human rights’ discourse. The right to the highest sustainable standard of health is recognised in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and in other international treaties and conventions. The importance of health and well-being are also shown by the central place they hold within the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) – SDG Goal 3, Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. When it comes to refugees and migrants, two pivotal documents are the World Health Assembly Resolutions 61.17 and 70.15, which urge the Member States to consider promoting the framework of priorities and guiding principles to promote the health of refugees and migrants. A WHO global action plan to promote the health of refugees and migrants is currently being developed in consultation with the countries. Governments in many regions have acknowledged the need to address the health needs and vulnerabilities of refugees and migrants to enhance health equity and security. Excluding migrants from health provisions not only results in health risks for the individual, and violations of migrants’ rights, but also poses risks for the broader attainment of public health objectives.

Fewer approaches put the discussion into the social and an economic perspective. Therefore, this event aims at sharing studies and country experiences that addressed the socioeconomic aspect of improving access of migrants to health care, regardless of their migration status, be it for legislative or practical reasons. The main argument is saving costs for health systems, through the migrant-inclusive delivery of preventive and basic health services for the benefit of the community. It is not just about the lowest costs through primary health care, but the economic optimisation model based on cost-effectiveness – maximum social and health outcomes. Therefore, this event looks at Primary Health Care as the minimum package of health care services that should be made available for all refugees and migrants. As will be shown, this economic optimisation model is not contradictory to a rights-based approach, but both perspectives will be integrated into the discussion.


Opening remarks

  • Ms Jacqueline Weekers, Director of the Migration Health Division, IOM
  • Dr Santino Severoni, Coordinator, Migration and Health programme, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Mr Alexander Tsoy, Vice Minister, Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Expert speakers

  • Dr Ursula Trummer, Center for Health and Migration, Austria
  • Dr Kai Hong Phua, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore

Country contributions

  • Mr Stamatis Vardaros, Secretary General for Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health of Greece
  • Bekir Keskinkılıç, Deputy General Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health of Turkey
  • Dr Panuwat Pankate, Dept. of Health Service Support, Ministry of Public Health of Thailand

Closing statement by the organizers

Moderator: Dr Jaime Calderon, Regional Migration Health Adviser, IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Expert speakers

Dr Ursula TRUMMER (PhD Sociology, MA Socioeconomic Sciences, MSc Organisational Development) is Head of the Center for Health and Migration in Vienna. She has been working on health and migration since 2000, when she coordinated the “Migrant Friendly Hospital” Initiative on service and quality development for European Hospitals. She held responsible for design and implementation of a database on models of good practice for health care for undocumented migrants in the EU. She was European principle investigator in the Asia-Europe Study on Social and Economic costs of excluding vulnerable migrant groups from health care (ASEF 2014) and the thematic study on cost analysis of health care provisions to migrants and ethnic minorities” (2016) as part of the EQUI-Health project conducted by IOM and co-funded by DG Sanco. She is a national delegate to several COST Actions (Health and Migration, Ageing Societies, Intergenerational Family Solidarity) and Member of the Management Committee of the Migration Health and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI) Global Network.


Dr Kai Hong PHUA is a Visiting Professor to the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy, as an adjunct faculty at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, and was previously Associate Professor and Head of Health Services Research at the Department of Community, Occupational & Family Medicine and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore. He graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health in Health Services Administration and Population Sciences, and the London School of Economics & Political Science (PhD on the development of health services in Malaysia and Singapore). Dr Phua is currently serving on the WHO Expert Committee on Economics of Health Ageing, Geneva, and Fees Benchmark Committee, Ministry of Health, Singapore. He has conducted numerous executive education and training programmes throughout the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East on healthcare reforms, financing and health systems management.


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Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Epidemiology of Migration and Health

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Epidemiology of Migration and Health

Posting Date: October 16, 2018

Closing Date: Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2018. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

For more information:

[PAPER] A global research agenda on migration, mobility, and health (2017)

A global research agenda on migration, mobility, and health [Open Access]

Hanefeld, J., Vearey, J. and Lunt, N. on behalf of the Researchers on Migration, Mobility and Health Group

The Lancet 2017; 389 2358-2359


With 1 billion people on the move globally—more than 244 million of whom have crossed international borders – and a recognised need to strengthen efforts towards universal health coverage, developing a better understanding of how to respond to the complex interactions between migration, mobility, and health is vital.

At the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health in Sri Lanka earlier this year, a group of global experts in health and migration discussed the progress and shortfalls in attaining the actions set out in the 2008 World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution on the Health of Migrants.

An anticipated outcome from the 2017 consultation is a “roadmap towards research and policy dialogue milestones”.  At the 70th WHA in May, 2017, migration and health were discussed with delegates requesting the WHO’s Director-General to provide guidance to countries on promoting the health of refugees and migrants, with a draft global action to be considered at the 72nd WHA in 2019.

The specific challenges we have encountered in our fieldwork in migration contexts highlight the need for better evidence to improve health-system responses to migration, mobility, and health. We have identified five core areas in which action is needed to support the development of a global research agenda on migration, mobility, and health.

[PAPER] Towards a migration-aware health system in South Africa: A strategic opportunity to address health inequity (2017)

Towards a migration-aware health system in South Africa: A strategic opportunity to address health inequity [Open Access]

Vearey, J., Modisenyane, M. and Hunter-Adams, J.

South African Health Review 27(1) 89 – 98 


Similar to the rest of the region, South Africa has a high prevalence of communicable diseases, an increasing non-communicable disease burden, and diverse internal and cross-border population movements. Healthy migration should be good for social and economic development, but in South Africa current health responses fail to address migration adequately. A review was done of the available data in order to provide recommendations for improved health-systems responses to migration and health in the country, and we drew on our experience in relevant policy processes.

The findings show that addressing migration and health is a priority globally and locally. The number of people moving internally within South Africa far exceeds the number of cross-border migrants. Contrary to popular assumptions, internal migration presents greater governance, health-system, and health-equity challenges than cross-border migration, but current responses do not recognise this. Our findings show why recognising migration as a determinant of health assists in addressing associated health inequities. Data suggest that a healthy migrant effect, and subsequent health penalty, is at play in South Africa. Evidence shows that both non-nationals and South African nationals who move within the country face challenges in accessing health care; of particular concern is the lack of a co-ordinated strategy to ensure continuous access to treatment, and care and support of chronic conditions.

Migration impacts the South African public healthcare system but not in the ways often assumed, and sectors responsible for improving responses have a poor understanding of migration. The need for better data is emphasised, existing policy responses are outlined, and strategic opportunities for intervention are suggested. Recommendations are made for migration-aware health systems that embed population movement as central to the design of health interventions, policy, and research. Such responses offer strategic opportunities to address health inequity, both nationally and regionally, with resulting health and developmental benefits for all.      


[PAPER] Infectious disease testing of UK-bound refugees: a population-based, cross-sectional study (2018)

Infectious disease testing of UK-bound refugees: a population-based, cross-sectional study [Open Access]

Alison F. Crawshaw, Manish Pareek, John Were, Steffen Schillinger, Olga Gorbacheva, Kolitha P. Wickramage, Sema Mandal, Valerie Delpech, Noel Gill, Hilary Kirkbride, and Dominik Zenner



The UK, like a number of other countries, has a refugee resettlement programme. External factors, such as higher prevalence of infectious diseases in the country of origin and circumstances of travel, are likely to increase the infectious disease risk of refugees, but published data is scarce. The International Organization for Migration carries out and collates data on standardised pre-entry health assessments (HA), including testing for infectious diseases, on all UK refugee applicants as part of the resettlement programme. From this data, we report the yield of selected infectious diseases (tuberculosis (TB), HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C) and key risk factors with the aim of informing public health policy.


We examined a large cohort of refugees (n = 18,418) who underwent a comprehensive pre-entry HA between March 2013 and August 2017. We calculated yields of infectious diseases stratified by nationality and compared these with published (mostly WHO) estimates. We assessed factors associated with case positivity in univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis.


The number of refugees included in the analysis varied by disease (range 8506–9759). Overall yields were notably high for hepatitis B (188 cases; 2.04%, 95% CI 1.77–2.35%), while yields were below 1% for active TB (9 cases; 92 per 100,000, 48–177), HIV (31 cases; 0.4%, 0.3–0.5%), syphilis (23 cases; 0.24%, 0.15–0.36%) and hepatitis C (38 cases; 0.41%, 0.30–0.57%), and varied widely by nationality. In multivariable analysis, sub-Saharan African nationality was a risk factor for several infections (HIV: OR 51.72, 20.67–129.39; syphilis: OR 4.24, 1.21–24.82; hepatitis B: OR 4.37, 2.91–6.41). Hepatitis B (OR 2.23, 1.05–4.76) and hepatitis C (OR 5.19, 1.70–15.88) were associated with history of blood transfusion. Syphilis (OR 3.27, 1.07–9.95) was associated with history of torture, whereas HIV (OR 1521.54, 342.76–6754.23) and hepatitis B (OR 7.65, 2.33–25.18) were associated with sexually transmitted infection. Syphilis was associated with HIV (OR 10.27, 1.30–81.40).


Testing refugees in an overseas setting through a systematic HA identified patients with a range of infectious diseases. Our results reflect similar patterns found in other programmes and indicate that the yields for infectious diseases vary by region and nationality. This information may help in designing a more targeted approach to testing, which has already started in the UK programme. Further work is needed to refine how best to identify infections in refugees, taking these factors into account.