Vietnam Joins IMO and WHO to Enhance Health and Well-being for ASEAN Migrants

While the burden of health issues within ASEAN remains complex, regional collaborations and partnerships are crucial to enhance the health and well-being of migrants, said the parties of the international conference on "Migration and health for migrants in ASEAN" workshop held on June 26 in Hanoi.

The "Migration and health for participants in ASEAN" workshop was co-chaired by the Vietnam's Ministry of Health, in collaboration with ASEAN member states, under the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The workshop called for increased integration of cooperation activities to improve access to health care services for immigrants, especially cross-border migrants. Conducted in hybrid form, the conference attracted more than 160 leaders, experts and scholars of many different industries from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Vietnam Joins IMO and WHO to Enhance Health and Well-being for ASEAN Migrants
The "Migration and health for visitors in ASEAN" workshop in Hanoi on June 26 (Photo: PL).

At the workshop, Deputy Chief of the VIetnam's Office of the National Steering Committee for Population & Development Luong Quang Dang said that according to the World Migration Report (International Organization for Migration, 2022), there were 281 million international migrants in 2020, accounting for 3.6% of the total world population. About 48% of international migrant are women with the number of 135 millio.

Currently, two-thirds of international people live in Europe and Asia. A large number of migrants (106 million) were born in Asia. The countries with the most immigrants in the world (in 2020) are the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Russia… There are many different reasons to migrate such as migrating to study, get married, receive adopted children… but the main reason is work .

According to the United Nations, the number of international residents in ASEAN is 10.2 million, of which women account for 46.8%. The country with the largest number of international people is Thailand (3.6 million), Malaysia (3.4 million), Singapore (2.2 million). The median age of ASEAN international applicants is 32.4 years old, of which the youngest is Malaysia (28.3 years old) and the oldest is Singapore (39.4 years old).

Migration makes an important contribution to economic growth, technology transfer, cultural exchange, promoting cooperation between countries and regions around the world. The amount of international remittance in 2020 is US $702 billion of which low- and middle-income countries receive US $540 billion, accounting for 77%. The Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar are among the top 20 Asian countries receiving international remittances in 2020.

The current population of Vietnam is 100 million people with an annual growth rate of more than 1%.

Known as the departure country of many international visitors, Vietnam is now one of the emerging destinations, especially in the context of integration and globalization.

While generating positive benefits, Dang stressed that migration (both favorably and internationally) also brings challenges such as shortage of labor resources (at the place of departure), social services, safety, health care and disease control, especially during public health emergencies.

Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong believes that the international conference on ASEAN Migration and Migrant Health is a good opportunity for ASEAN member states to identify the current status and trends of migration in the region and the world, as well as its impact on socio-economic development.

"We need to share lessons learned, initiatives and policy models from the region to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN countries as well as between ASEAN and its partners to promote and improve the health of migrants," said Huong.

Vietnam Joins IMO and WHO to Enhance Health and Well-being for ASEAN Migrants
International delegation attened the event (Photo: PL)

Speaking at the conference, Park Mihyung, Head of the IOM Delegation, welcomed the cooperation between IOM and the Ministry of Health or promoting the health and wellness of migrants.

“In a dynamic world with increasing mobility needs of people, regional cooperation and partnership areas are important factors for promoting the health and wellness of residents. Healthy residents help build healthy communities,” said Park Mihyung.

The IOM representative rejoiced at active programs by the IOM and ASEAN Member States for promoting migrant health and well-being, in line with the IOM Global for Legal, Safe and Orderly Migration (IOM GCM). This is the first intergovernmental agreement to focus on and across the board on health issues, said Park, with several goals covering access to health and healthcare services.

"Through the implementation of IOM GCM, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Resolutions of the World Health Assembly, we can implement important activities to improv the health of migrants, fostering cross-sectoral partnerships and developing data-driven policies within ASEAN," approved the IOM representative.

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