Report from International Organization for Migration
Somalilandsun – In preparation for a large-scale resettlement of internally displaced persons, the International Organization for Migration, IOM in close coordination with Somaliland’s Ministry of Health has completed the Ministry’s first ever training on fitness-to-travel medical procedures, conducted for doctors, nurses and nurse midwives from Hargeisa’s Group Hospital, the Association of Midwives and Nurses of Somaliland, and Hargeisa’s Migration Response Center.
Next week, Somaliland’s Ministry of Health and IOM in coordination with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR; the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC; and the Danish Refugee Council, DRC will conduct fitness-to-travel medical checks and provide medical assistance to 324 internally displaced persons, IDPs who are voluntarily returning to Baidoa in South Central Somalia from Hargeisa, Burao and Lasanod in Somaliland.
NRC and DRC are part of the Return Consortium, an initiative that was started to facilitate IDP voluntary return programming in Somalia.
Somaliland hosts a significant number of Somalis from South Central areas who were displaced from their villages due to insecurity caused by raging conflicts between militias. Some of the families being moved next week were uprooted more than 20 years ago.
Dignified and orderly voluntary resettlement of migrants like IDPs and refugees is one of IOM’s core activities. Through its migration health programme, IOM offers specialized fitness-to-travel medical tests that are intended to ensure women, men and children are healthy enough to travel.
Dr Samir Hadjiabduli, IOM Somalia’s Health Programme Officer says: “Most of the population has been displaced. Many are returning home, and fitness-to-travel medical tests are important for their well-being, and the good health of host communities.”
Prior to this training, resettlements in the past did not incorporate fitness-to-travel medical tests, leaving returnees vulnerable to easily preventable diseases, and without the support of a health professional assigned to travel with them as a ‘medical escort’.
IOM Somalia’s fitness-to-travel medical interventions are funded by the Japanese government.
For more information or for interviews, please contact Dr Samir Hadjiabduli, IOM Somalia, Tel +252 24686285 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org