EU provides EUR1 million for migration management, preparedness plans in urban areas

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The European Union has released EUR 1 million to enhance community-based surveillance at some of Zimbabwe’s busiest borders and along the routes that migrants travel, to improve migration management and inform preparedness plans in urban areas. Implemented by IOM Zimbabwe over 24 months, the project seeks to strengthen IOM’s Flow Monitoring (FM) activities at borders, within border communities, and in areas where migrants congregate at different stages of their migration journeys.

Community surveillance will involve the collection and analysis of migration data to provide a more comprehensive picture of the demographics, needs, and vulnerabilities of migrants. This data will inform government and development partners on the actions required to detect, prevent, and respond to public health threats that affect migrants in mainly urban areas and to ensure that migrants have access to basic health services.

IOM has over the last two years been working to strengthen the capacities of front-line workers at four points of entry (PoEs)- Beitbridge, Plumtree, Chirundu and Forbes, to respond adequately to crises and attend to migrant needs, including post-arrival assistance, health, and protection assistance. IOM will maintain protection assistance through counselling and referral services and will build on existing partnerships to provide the government with the necessary technical assistance to craft contingency plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) at PoEs and along the routes that migrants travel, to ensure a reinforced system of prevention, detection, and response to epidemics in Zimbabwe. In addition, IOM will contribute to strengthening the capacity for effective epidemic preparedness and response to any future disease outbreaks in the country.

The project’s activities commencing in July 2023 will reach over 15000 migrant returnees and other mobile populations and will endeavor to ensure that Primary Health Care initiatives respond to the unique needs of migrants, and promote the provision of equitable, accessible, and appropriate health services to all. The project will be implemented in Beitbridge, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Hurungwe, and Harare and will provide solutions to promote the health of urban citizens as well as mobile and migrant populations through raising awareness of the migration dimension of emergencies, strengthening the capacity of government to respond rapidly to crises, promote the inclusion of migrants in public health plans, strengthen surveillance at PoEs and community level and provide technical, logistical and material support to improve capacities to better coordinate the preparedness and response to public health events, especially as they relate to migrants and other mobile populations.

Speaking ahead of the project’s inception, IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission, Mario Lito Malanca acknowledged the EU for their continued partnership with IOM across various projects over the last few years. ‘It is heartening that the EU recognises the complex nature of mobility dynamics, particularly as they pertain to health systems. This partnership will make a massive contribution to the strengthening of health systems through evidence-based epidemic preparedness and response’, Mr. Malanca said.