ENGAGING BORDER OFFICIALS IN THE PROMOTION OF MIGRATION HEALTH IN TANZANIA
IOM together with the Tanzania Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) enhanced the capacity of 128 border officials via a series of workshops that aimed to raise awareness on health aspects of border management. Participants included port health officers, police officers, immigration officers, state security officers and Tanzania Revenue Authority officers from different points of entry (POE), including airports, sea ports and lake ports.
The officials noted the importance of the knowledge they gained and the usefulness of the workshops, particularly in terms of creating awareness on issues related to health vulnerabilities and migration. “There have been series of outbreaks in neighboring countries including health threats like Marburg, influenza of new sub-types, dengue fever and chikungunya. Therefore, we need to have enough capacity to prevent, control and manage these public health emergencies in a way that minimizes public health risks and reduces unnecessary interference to trade and traffic at points of entry and bordering communities,” stated Remidius Kakulu, in charge of MOH Port Health Services.
The workshop also encouraged strengthening referral mechanisms with health authorities. “Capacitating all officials operating at the border areas is very key in order to ensure effective and quality services, especially health services,” noted Fadhili Kilamile of MOH Port Health Services.
The border officials recognized the importance of collaboration and coordination among different stakeholders operating at POEs to protect and promote the health of migrants and host communities. As a way forward, the border officials pledged to promote migration health and improve their practices towards migrant-sensitive and friendly services.
The workshops increased the border officials’ knowledge on migration health, including migrants’ right to health, health vulnerabilities and border health policies and procedures, as demonstrated by the post-training evaluation. Border officials also demonstrated increased capacity through role plays and a positive change in attitudes towards migrants, including irregular migrants.