The IOM Migration Health Division (MHD) Research and Epidemiology Unit is currently updating the Bibliometric Analysis of COVID-19 in the Context of Migration Healthfull paper and repository, harnessing relevant research publications on COVID-19 in relation to migrants, migration, and human mobility. See Migration Health Evidence Portal for COVID-19, for reference.
To efficiently do this, we are seeking the help of interested MHADRI members, specifically in screening and tagging relevant publications in which MHADRI members can participate as reviewers. The MHD Research and Epidemiology Unit will then organize and deliver a quick training for the reviewers to guide them on the step-by-step process. Rest assured too that we will acknowledge your work in the paper.
Those interested may contact the MHD Research and Epidemiology Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submission: 5th Feb 2021.
September 2019 saw the launch of the BMJ’s migration health series, developed in collaboration with the Migration Health and Development Research Network (MHADRI) and the United Nations Migration agency. It aims to provide insights and perspectives by migrants and refugee communities, government authorities, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, civil society and industry groups in the issues, challenges and complexities in advancing migration health at national, regional and global levels.
A call for
The best pieces for The BMJ series will be policy and analytical pieces that develop new areas of thinking, challenge existing norms – taking on a major issue and offering new insights with data to support them. Papers that will take stock of the current state of evidence, debates and controversies, underscore advances, highlight critical gaps in evidence generation, and the key interventions needed for knowledge generation for advancing migration health polices and practice.
Papers of up to 1,500 words in length will be considered. BMJ encourages submissions from a diverse range of stakeholders as indicated. Perspectives from Low to Middle-Income Countries, and papers written collaboratively between researchers and policy makers are encouraged. Submissions should follow BMJ style guidelines. The series is calibrated along the axis of three perspectives: from the ‘individual’ migrant, the ‘health system’; and, the ‘political’- navigating policy, politics and diplomacy.
Political dimension: exploring the politics, power and governance around migration and health. Migration discourses continue to be at the forefront of political and social movements, dominating headlines and election campaigns, yet who is driving the migration and health agenda? How is migration health been framed as a public health priority? Where does it sit within health agendas at national, regional and global levels?
Health Systems dimension:
Despite the mantra to ‘leaving no one behind on the path to universal health
coverage’ non-citizens and migrant groups are often left-behind or left-out of
health system plans…rethinking health systems responses, health care
financing, health coverage to migration, human mobility and health…
Individual dimension: What
are the perspectives and experiences of migrants and refugees in navigating
health care? What are underlying discourses of vulnerability and ‘othering’?
What is the evidence on health impacts and what are strategies and sustainable
solutions being explored?…
by no means an exhaustive list, but serves as reflection of the catalytic
questions along each axis!
The BMJ series will provide an opportunity for multi-media submissions. Those working in the migration health field with the expertise and experience of the lessons (un)learnt distilled from dedicated practice of providing/enabling health care or conducting research with migrants and refugees can contribute multi-media content for the series. Of course, the lived experiences and stories of migrants and refugees are highly encouraged. The submissions may include for instance photo essays, audio-visual story board narratives, audio recorded commentaries/interviews and visual artwork.
A short analytical piece must accompany all submissions anchored to the 3 themes of the series. It is essential for any submitted work, the person/s who is the subject of the photo, audio or video recording to have provided requisite consent/assent for use and sharing of their images, stories, artwork and audio-video content. The final editorial decision of which multi-media submissions to be posted on the BMJ-series will of course be made by the BMJ through peer-review processors. Members should contact us for pre-submission inquiries.
What would make
a good topic for debate in the migration health field?
MHADRI would like to hear from you on ideas for debates on migration health related topics, that may be organised as podcasts in 2020. Please submit your ideas for debate questions and experts you feel that you will like to engage in such debates. Please contact MHADRI for pre-submission inquiries.
On July 9th, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice proposed a new rule – “Security Bars and Processing” – that would give them expansive authority to deny asylum and block and deport asylum seekers in the name of public health.
This rule undermines and contradicts good public health principles and practice.
During this webinar, you’ll learn about this new rule, its implications for public health and asylum in the United States, and how to take action against it via a panel of experts, hosted by the Program on Forced Migration and Health within the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, the Health and Human Rights Certificate, Human Rights First, the Center for Humanitarian Health within Johns Hopkins University, Physicians for Human Rights, and Global Response Management.
Panelists: Monette Zard, Program of Forced Migration and Health, Columbia University Eleanor Acer and Kennji Kizuka, Human Rights First Dr. Paul B. Spiegel, Center for Humanitarian Health, Johns Hopkins University Dr. Michele Heisler, Physicians for Human Rights Helen Perry, Global Response Management Learn more:
This study utilized data from a cross-sectional survey done with Syrian refugees in a camp in Greece. The goal was to determine if a sequential screening process would be able to accurately assess the number of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) in the population. While the initial data was collected through the eight-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), this validation study simulated the use of the two-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) as well. The PHQ-2 was used to first screen the data of patients who scored less than 2 on the PHQ-2, who were then ruled out for MDD symptoms. The other patients’ answers were then used in the PHQ-8. The findings were analyzed to see if the two-part process would be able to accurately and efficiently determine who would be most at risk for symptoms of MDD.
The conclusion of this study was that “The benefits of the sequential screening approach for the classification of MDD presented here are twofold: preserving classification accuracy relative to the PHQ-2 alone while reducing the response burden of the PHQ-8. This sequential screening approach is a pragmatic strategy for streamlining MDD surveillance in humanitarian emergencies.”
This evidence portal is a repository of research publications and high-yield evidence briefs on COVID-19 and itsintersection with migration health.
The scientific literature and knowledge base on the epidemic rapidly expand daily. Tremendous efforts are being made by the global community of clinicians, researchers and journal editors to advance scientific evidence to guide policy and decision making at the field level. However, there is a need to build evidence platforms to share and distill key findings emergent from this growing body of scientific literature that is relevant to migration, health, and human mobility to ultimately assist evidence-informed decision making from a migration lens.
The portal contains:
An interactive, open-source, searchable (and downloadable) repository of research publications on COVID-19 in relation to migrants, migration, and human mobilitybased on the quantitative analysis of the thematic trends and impact of relevant publications.
The full paper of the quantitative analysis of publications on COVID-19 and migration health (i.e., bibliometric analysis).
Research Publications on COVID-19 and Migration Health
This section reflects the output of the publication mapping exercise involving the quantitative assessment of a set of published scientific articles (i.e., bibliometric analysis) on COVID-19 with reference to migrants, migration, and human mobility. Bibliometric analysis provides an important snapshot of a specific field of interest/domain. The baseline information from bibliometric analysis helps identify research gaps that future studies can investigate. The bibliometric analysis conducted by IOM and MHADRI on international migration and health is one example.
As of 30 March 2020, the publications related to COVID-19 totaled 21,779 (no restriction set in terms of language and subject area). From this, a total of 43 publications were relevant to migration health and human mobility.
Most of the studies investigated the cases and disease transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in the context of national and international population movement, with most studies undertaken in China. The distribution of research to date indicates the role of travel and migration in the importation of the virus.
Research on the epidemiology of the disease among migrant groups such as migrant workers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and asylum seekers is lacking. Evidence with attribution to migrant groups within clinical datasets are seldom reported.
Despite multiple studies from high-income countries (HICs) using mathematical modelling to predict spread, and model social distancing, border closures and impacts on health care system capacities, there were only a few studies that model outbreak in low-to-middle-income countries (LMICs) contexts. None hitherto have focused on camps and camp-like situations.
There is a real need to strengthen the current knowledge base on the epidemiology and social determinants of COVID-19 and examine health-related outcomes in specific migrant groups, especially migrant workers.
Investigations on COVID-19 and migration health should not be limited to the role of movement/mobility in the dynamic importation of cases in a pandemic; a more inclusive research strategy that integrates the relevant interests of migrant populations should be considered.
Advocating for the right to health of migrants and migrant inclusion within the global, regional, national and sub-national pandemic preparedness and response plans is of critical importance.
The most productive authors and institutions come from Hong Kong, whose geographical proximity to and socio-economic ties with China were likely contributing factors in their early contributions to the field.
Network map of common keywords
The network map below shows an overview of the common keywords that appear in the title, abstract, and keywords of the relevant publications retrieved on the topic of COVID-19 and migration health. Network maps of keywords reveal key topics in a research area or domain as well as the relationship (co-occurrence) between common keywords. It is a relative indicator of important research areas that are drawing attention in the field.
The large circles in the figure represent the most frequently occurring author keywords in the research publications (N=43) such as ‘pneumonia’ (n=26), ‘epidemic’ (n=22), ‘travel’ (n=19), ‘quarantine’ (n=18), ‘outbreak’ (n=15), and ‘disease transmission’ (n=14).
The lines connecting the circles represent the co-occurring keywords. The distance between two keywords approximates how strongly the words are related based on the number of their co-occurrences (i.e., the more publications in which two keywords co-occur, the stronger the relation between them). Thus, the strongly related words appear closer together on the map.
Each distinct color represents a cluster of keywords that are strongly related to each other. In the figure, ‘pneumonia’, ‘travel’, and ‘disease transmission’ are strongly related to ‘virology’, ‘animals’, ‘nonhuman’, ‘zoonosis’, ‘fever’, ‘genetics’, and ‘pandemic’ (red cluster). The keyword ‘epidemic’ is strongly related to ‘outbreak’, ‘quarantine’, ‘mass screening’, ‘air travel’, ‘travel medicine’, ‘global health’, ‘infection control’, and ‘risk assessment’ – these keywords are shown to be closer together forming the green cluster.
These topics on COVID-19 and migration health can be classified into the following thematic areas: disease epidemiology (i.e., travel, disease transmission, virology, animals, nonhuman, zoonosis, genetics, pandemic); clinical management (i.e., pneumonia and fever); and public health intervention (i.e., quarantine, control, etc.).
Note: See the full paper for the Methodology and Limitations of this analysis.
What do we know about the landscape of migration health research? Who is doing the research? What are they researching on? Which migrant categories are included? What are the health related themes? How can we better understand the research and evidence gap in migration and health? What collaborations are taking place, and can we map who funds this research?
These are some of the questions that a group of scholars, policy makers and International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff investigated at a workshop on bibliometrics analysis of migration health research held in November 2019 at IOM’s Global Administrative Centre in Manila, Philippines.
The workshop was the first of this kind, harnessing research collaboration not only within IOM but also with the government agencies, clinicians and research institutions, mainly from South and Southeast Asia.
“Bibliometric analysis is a useful research method as it lets you look at the patterns of research activities such as publications. In any global health field, it is extremely helpful to know where the work is being done, who is doing it, where the collaborations are happening, and what topics are being explored,” said Dr. Margaret Sampson, an international expert on bibliometric analysis who facilitated the workshop.
Jointly organized by IOM, together with the Migration Health and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI) and the Migration & Health South Asia Network, the workshop served as a platform to develop research capacity, with particular focus on researchers in the Global South, in undertaking bibliometric analysis to identify the gaps in research output on migration health.
BackgroundIn 2018, IOM and MHADRI undertook the first-ever bibliometric analysis of global migration health research in peer-reviewed literature focusing on international migrants. The study revealed major gaps in research productivity especially in the Global South as most literature is from high-income migrant destination countries, despite the significant migration flows within the countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and Eastern Europe. For example, according to the study, only 6.2 per cent of the total published research output on the health of migrants focused on migrant workers, despite 60 per cent of international migrants represented within this category. Supporting the networking, capacity development of researchers, especially those from developing nations, to undertake migration health-related research was highlighted. The importance of undertaking more in-depth mapping of migration health research output for both international and internal migrants in low to middle income countries were also highlighted in the research by IOM and MHADRI.
The Manila Consensus Group forged at the workshop aimed at further refining and testing the search strategies for bibliometrics research and provide analytical rigour to apply these methods for migration health research.
The group committed to developing methodological guidelines in undertaking bibliometric analysis as well as to work on providing a standardized approach to undertaking bibliometric analysis relevant to research on international and internal migration dynamics.
The group committed to publishing these outputs in open source platforms supported by IOM so as to make this publicly available so that researchers, policy makers and UN agencies can utilize to undertake tailored analytics.
“It boils down to how you frame your question, the right key words, and the right way to search – maybe we are making it too wide or too tight – maybe we are not getting the right information. So, the tools and strategies presented were really helpful,” said one of the workshop participants, Dr. Roomi Aziz, Technical Lead Health Data and Communication, Pathways to Impact in Pakistan
The Manila Consensus group will delve into questions focusing on the research productivity relating to migration and health in Philippines, internal migration and health related research in South Asia as well as the research productivity relating to health assessments of migrants and refugees at pre- and post-migration phases and health outcomes in areas ranging from Infectious disease, communicable disease and occupational health.
“The workshop provided an excellent opportunity to build research capacity among Global South scholars, to enable them to go back and take deep dives to understand the research productivity in the field of migration health in their local areas and use that as evidence to move the field forward,” said Associate Professor Charles Hui, Chairperson of MHADRI network and Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario, Ottawa.
In addition to harnessing the synergies created through this initiative, IOM seeks to work with member states, partner organizations and research networks to replicate such mapping and collaboration in other regions.
In partnership with IOM and the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at Wits University, MHADRI is undertaking a global mapping of actors, agencies and networks engaged in delivering training and capacity building/developing programmes in the field of migration and health. We are interested in initiatives being undertaken by all actors, including within civil society organisations, government departments, international organisations and academic institutions.
We invite anyone involved in developing or implementing any training or capacity building initiative in the field of migration and health to participate in a short online survey.
We are using the information collected to develop an open source database of available training and capacity building initiatives in the field of migration and health.
This commentary focuses on female workers in construction sites in India, and the impact of mothers’ work on the health and nutrition of their children. The sector provides good opportunities for work, but it also affects children’s health outcomes.
“A study of 131 migrant children living at various construction sites in Ahmedabad showed that half of the children surveyed were underweight (low weight for age), 41% were stunted (low height for age) and 22% were wasted (low weight for height). According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-’16), 35.5% of children under the age of five in the country are underweight, 38.4% are stunted, 21% are wasted.”
The article highlights various reasons why children are in this condition. Mothers do not have time or comfortable environments to breastfeed exclusively, and can also have difficulty finding the time to wean at the proper age. Mothers don’t have access to affordable, healthy food, so older children eat a lot of packaged food. The water in construction sites is often contaminated and not potable. Utilizing health services means taking time off work, which results in a loss of wages.
The author argues that NGO’s can be one way to help alleviate the situation, but they can be difficult to access as well. Dr Ravindranath’s main recommendation is that “it is also critical to view the role of parental work environment and migration as factors contributing to undernutrition. Policies and interventions designed to address undernutrition must consider these as key factors without which such children would continue to be denied a chance of improved nutrition and better health.”