The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), was one of the main sponsors of the 2019 International Migration Days (IMD) events organised mid-December in the city of Takoradi, in Ghana.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), together with the Ghana Immigration Services (GIS), provided health screenings to about 500 members from the fishing community of the coastal city of New Takoradi, which is prone to irregular migration. A parade float further accompanied the event, with some 300 GIS informers informing community members about safe and irregular migration.
The free health screenings included a comprehensive check-up followed by dental and eye exams, performed by nurses and medical specialists. The patients were also able to consult the doctors present on site, and collect drugs. In total, 161 males and 335 females were treated, including 116 children under 15.
The medical screening event was a true community effort in which local Chiefs, Assembly members, religious leaders, opinion leaders and youth groups, among others, participated. The medical personnel recruited to perform the screenings came from local hospitals, pharmacies, and the naval base clinic. IOM supplied the medical equipment and drugs, and the Pharmacy Council came with additional supplies.
What’s more, the event was an opportunity to engage community members to participate on migration issues. GIS officers took patients through an education process about the dangers of irregular migration and safe means of transport. Signs with messages about safe migration were disposed all around the space to draw people’s attention and generate further conversations with participants.
Different activities inspired by the global theme of strengthening social cohesion took place with the objective of recognising the benefits that migrants and returnees can bring to their communities, and vice versa. The community engagements proved to be a success, as more than 5,000 people came to the IMD event to listen, amongst others, to returnees sharing their stories and to IOM Goodwill Ambassador and rapper Kofi Kinaata performing his song “No Place Like Home”.
In light of the Covid-19 situation, IOM is considering to organise awareness raising activities about the methods to prevent the transmission of the virus. Under this project, a similar medical screening and provision of sanitary equipment is foreseen. Importantly, this assistance has to involve vulnerable communities and returnees who generally lack of access to basic health service in order to protect them from the pandemic.
- Publication date
- 22 April 2020
- Region and Country
- Improved migration management
- International Organization for Migration