Filipino migrant workers can now expect better health services as the Department of Health (DOH) officially ties up with the world’s principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration on Friday. This was done during the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DOH and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI), Quezon City.
IOM will be providing technical assistance to the DOH and implementing 2008 Migrant Health Resolution and other migration health related activities at national, regional and international level. Executive Director of the IOM, Marc Buasso, in his speech during the MOA signing, said he would describe migration as ‘the phenomenon of the millennium’.
“Two hundred fifty million people move around in our planet seeking for better ways in life, better opportunities for themselves and their families,” Buasso said. “What more important in the life of a human than health? Health is probably the most important and cherishable possession you can have,” he added.
Buasso also explained that migrants cannot be deprived of their right and access to decent and standard healthcare. “This is why IOM is increasing with partners all around the world for migrant health,” he said. “This MOA will foster and enhance the health of Filipino migrants.”
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said resolutions will also be made to establish a health information system which will allow assessment and analysis of trends in migrant’s health. “This will provide the Philippines necessary partnership and assistance in the areas of research, policy development and capacity building that we need,” Ona said.
He explained that the purpose of the country’s Health Care (UHC) outlines a thrust to realize the health goals to increase health services of Filipinos here and abroad. “I’m quite sure that when UHC was conceptualized, it did not exclude health rights and concerns of this special group (migrants),” he added. Ona stressed that the DOH will start its initiatives by reviewing existing government programs and come up with a package of health services that can be negotiated through bilateral agreements.
This way, Filipino migrant workers can be provided physical, mental and emotional preparation before they migrate or while they are far away from their families. “I have to admit that much more can be done for our migrant workers,” Ona said.
Philippines News agency