Haiti and Dominican Republic Hold Bi-National Workshop to Fight Tuberculosis

Haiti - IOM this week supported the Haitian Ministry of Health and the National Anti-Tuberculosis Program by organizing and facilitating the second bi-national workshop on tuberculosis (TB).

The event, held this week in Port-au-Prince, was attended by the Haitian Minister of Health, delegations from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and representatives from IOM and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The purpose of the workshop was to develop a joint plan to reduce the incidence of TB on both sides of the island, with a special focus on vulnerable populations, including the migrant population.

Migrant health is a major challenge in the Caribbean region. The growing mobility of workers between Haiti and the Dominican Republic makes the need to reinforce the prevention and treatment of TB a priority.

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, to which migrant and internally displaced populations are particularly vulnerable, is also a growing cause of concern on the island.

"IOM will work closely with the Ministry of Health, WHO and bi-national partners to support the implementation of this joint plan and to advocate for the promotion of migrant health through TB and HIV programs, particularly in the border areas," said Kristin Parco, IOM's health program manager in Haiti.

Since the January 2010 earthquake, IOM has worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Population to address priority health issues and improve access to healthcare for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

IOM integrates TB and HIV detection and response in its health interventions in camps and assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programming.

IOM also builds capacities of medical personnel and community health agents in screening, referral and treatment of TB, as well as sensitization and health education.

"IOM will continue to offer technical support to the Haitian and Dominican governments. Migrant integration in national policies is essential for an effective and inclusive fight against tuberculosis," said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission, Gregoire Goodstein.

On the occasion of the World Health Assembly held in Geneva in May 2014, IOM, in support of Resolution 61.17 on migrant health, highlighted the need to reinforce collaboration between countries to fight tuberculosis, the second leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide.

At the global level, IOM has substantial experience in TB screening among refugee, IDP and migrant populations. IOM is a member in the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund and implements TB-related projects in South-East Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa.

For more information, please contact Ilaria Lanzoni at IOM Haiti, Email: ilanzoni@iom.int, Tel: +509 370 25 066.