Sirisena to brief IOM on health of migrants

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to brief the International Organisation for Migrants, at a Seminar held by the IOM in Geneva, on steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to ensure the health of migrant workers. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said on Wednesday that last year the number of resident visas issued in Sri Lanka was 42,488.

He said that a majority of them had arrived for State sector and BOI projects. The economic boom in the country, the development in aviation, shipping, energy, knowledge and commercial purposes had increased the number of migrants from foreign countries in Sri Lanka.

However, the increase in the number of migrants could lead to the increase in the threat of disease, the spokesman said. Quoting the Minister, the spokesman said it was important for resident visa applicants to Sri Lanka to undergo appropriate health assessments when required.

"Sri Lanka is currently in the process of developing a ‘Migration Health Policy’ addressing health issues of all categories of migrants. The Immigration Health Policy,’ will be established and implemented to secure the health needs of the country and to avert public health risk.

The Health Ministry in collaboration with several other Ministries and Departments has formed a steering Committee to formulate and implement the Migrant Health Policy. They include the Ministries of Defense, Justice, Finance and Planning, External Affairs, Department of Immigration and Immigration, Department of National Planning, BOI and Sri Lanka Insurance Board.

He added that the Minister was also due to brief the Cabinet on the technical report formulated on the National Policy on Migrant Health.

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