I would like to tell you about a new regional initiative, which was launched two years ago in the EECA region as a volunteer movement and has now transformed into the Regional Expert Group on Migration and Health. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), migration flows are massive and constant and involve millions of people. 

All the EECA countries provide care, in particular for chronic infectious diseases, to their citizens to preserve their health, ability to work and quality of life. However, a major proportion of the international migrants lose their access to health services as soon as they leave their countries of origin.   

Regional Expert Group (REG) on Migration and Heath in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was established by civil society activists and researchers to develop an expert position that would help improve the quality of life of international migrants in the countries of the region.  The aim of the group is to provide expertise to ensure continuous access of mobile populations to health services along the entire route from the countries of origin to the countries of destination.  

We conduct research to assess the health situation of migrants, present research results to the public and discuss evidence-based arguments with decision-makers, civil society, academic community, and international organizations. We initiate and support expert dialogue to foster cross-border cooperation between the countries of origin and the countries of destination, as well as creation of bilateral and multilateral agreements in the area of mobile populations’ health.  

REG was organized at the first Regional Meeting on Migration and Health held on April 29, 2019 at the UN House in Moscow, Russia, in the presence of international representatives, government officials, members of non-profit organizations from the EECA countries, and mass media. The Resolution of the First Regional Meeting of Civil Society on Migration and Health has been adopted. 

In October 2020, the Regional Expert Group on Migration and Heath and TBEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding and plan joint research activities to assess the TB situation among migrants in EECA and to share information about the issues and barriers faced by the migrants affected by TB, in particular within the Regional Collaborating Committee on Accelerated Response to Tuberculosis, HIV and Viral Hepatitis (RCC-THV). Together we will do our best to promote the Minimum package for cross-border TB control and care in the WHO European region.  

– Daniel Kashnitsky, Academic Relations Coordinator, Regional Expert Group on Migration and Health