The Greater Mekong Subregion experiences high levels of internal and international migration. Furthermore, long porous borders lead to high border mobility for many populations. Migration is driven by the economic disparities and demographic inequalities that exist between countries, including ageing populations and labour shortage in the most developed countries and a labour surplus in the poorest countries. Discrimination and persecution of ethnic and religious minorities within some countries has also led to large population movements within the region.
Whilst much attention has been paid to economic and social impacts of migration and integration, the health of migrant populations has often been neglected. The Thai government’s introduction of a migrant health insurance scheme in 2001 is a stand out exception. The Sustainable Development Goals have the imperative to ‘leave no one behind’ at their heart. Migration is a social determinant of health that can impact the health and well-being of individuals and communities, both those on the move and those remaining in countries of origin, in both beneficial and detrimental ways.
The proposed publication will present an overview and evaluation of national policies relating to the health of migrants within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), excluding China. This will focus on Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam as countries that have sizeable and consistent streams of migrants moving to the focus receiving countries, Malaysia and Thailand.
This policy brief series will be the first output from a new collaboration between the UN University’s Institute of Global Health (UNU-IIGH) and the Asia Pacific Observatory (APO). The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and other interested and relevant organisations will also be consulted during the collection of evidence and formulation of policy recommendations .