We Are Live !

After several months of brainstorming, research, hard work, and collaboration, the Mi-Health Europe platform is finally live!

What a great pleasure it is to finally bring this platform to life! It is a major step towards improving migrant health outcomes and access to justice and equality across the WHO European region.

For those who were able to attend our launch last Friday, 18 June 2021, we would like to say thank you! It was a sincere pleasure to have you be a part of our discussion, ask thoughtful questions to our panelists, and hear from our diverse group of experienced speakers on the urgent need for healthcare equality, overcoming challenges, and of the importance of dialogue, policy-making, research and collaboration in improving the healthcare rights of migrant, asylum seeker and refugee populations.

After open remarks from Debra Allcock Tyler, who reminded us that it is “time to fight again”, our host Bernadette N. Kumar, co-chair of Lancet Migration, passed the mic to Lord Boateng.

Member of the House of Lords and the first speaker of the launch, Lord Boateng gave us a brief overview of the legal framework with regards to equal access to healthcare rights within the EU. He identified existing legal loopholes that may hinder the EU’s ability to deliver equal healthcare rights to EU citizens, along with the ways in which EU laws are applied distinctly at national levels. Lord Boateng particularly emphasised how important it is for constituents and civil societies to write and speak directly to legislators and MPs on issues that matter to them, in order to actively contribute to the making of policies.

Moro Yapha, radio host and founding member of Wearebornfree!, gave us insight into his personal experience as a migrant in Germany and the importance of speaking out on inequalities and barriers that migrants face when navigating new socio-cultural and legal systems. Moro’s experience rooted the rest of our launch in Mi-Health’s purpose as a platform for migrants and allies to share experiences and knowledge and ultimately enhance migrant health.

HIV expert at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Teymur Noori then gave us an overview of the HIV response in Europe as it relates to screening, prevention and treatment. He particularly stressed the importance of data in monitoring the scale of and finding better responses to HIV. Furthermore, he warned us about the negative impact of stigma and stereotypes attached to migrants and how they can limit the ability of the latter to get tested and obtain treatment if needed.

Dr. Kanokporn Kaojaroen, Country Support and Partner Coordinator at the World Health Organization, then gave an overview of the WHO’s goals and responses as it relates to healthcare access for migrants. Similarly to Noori, Dr. Kaojaroen stressed the serious need for comprehensive, multidimensional and credible data in order to better respond to modern healthcare challenges, and specifically the healthcare needs of migrant communities.

Next we heard from Melody Lewdon, Program Officer at Open Society Foundations. She talked about the importance of supporting small scale organisations advocating for equal access to healthcare for migrant populations. As Program Officer at Open Society Foundations, she also discussed how social outreach and an adequate sharing of knowledge and information can ensure stronger health equity, which is particularly important for those who are socially excluded and live in more precarious conditions.

Finally Jeffrey Lazarus, Associate Research Professor at ISGlobal Institute, shared insight into the state of healthcare policy and systems within the EU. He highlighted the health and socio-economic challenges brought by the spread of the Covid-19 virus and their impact on migrant communities and movement.

We want to thank our speakers, once again, for their rich and varied contributions and hope that you were able to learn a lot from them.

Taking to heart Moro’s call to use our voices to speak out, Lord Boateng’s appeal for civic participation in policy making, and the repeated request for data and research on migrant health, not to mention a reduction in stigma, coming from our panelists, in the coming months we will be holding the first meetings of our steering committee, and discuss how we can achieve these goals as a team. Additionally, we will continue to grow our database of migrant-led and migrant-focused supportive services on www.mihealtheurope.org and open applications for our working groups and independent advisory board.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please email us at mihealth@africadvocacy.org. If you are part of or know of any organisations that could be a part of our database, kindly complete this consent form and we will gladly post information on our website. Otherwise, follow us on social media and check out our website, mihealtheurope.org! We look forward to collaborating with you as Mi-Health grows!

Thank you again!

The Mi-Health Team

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