Healthy Migrants in Healthy Communities: New Migration Health Assessment Facilities Open in Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos On 4 September 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) commissioned the establishment of a new Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC) block and laboratory in Lagos, Nigeria.

The new facilities are part of IOM’s activities to support the Nigerian public health department in promoting safe and regular migration, discourage irregular migration and human trafficking, as well as strengthen migration governance structures in the country. Two centres, in Abuja and Lagos, were established on 2 January 2014 to perform migration health assessments in Nigeria for visa applicants to the UK, Canada, Australia, USA and New Zealand.

The new MHAC block was officially opened by Franz Celestin, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission and Dr Marwan Naoum, IOM Regional Coordinator for the Health Assessment Programme for sub-Saharan Africa. “IOM is committed to continue supporting the Federal Government of Nigeria in providing health assessment and promoting public health, safety and security of migrants and their communities,” said Celestin at the opening ceremony.

In addition to health assessments for migrants, the MHAC offers a broad range of services including treatment for medical conditions which pose a risk to public health such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, immunization against vaccine preventable diseases, prophylaxis against malaria and tuberculosis, and professional medical assistance and special travel arrangements for sick or vulnerable persons during travel.

Since 2014, the number of migrants accessing MHAC services has increased by 60 per cent, a development that has called for the expansion of the facility in Lagos. Recent statistics show that Nigerians account for 25 per cent of all caseloads from Africa.

“MHAC is opening a fully equipped laboratory and has procured new additional equipment such as the IGRA machine, which is used for tuberculosis screening, and Genexpert machine for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing,” said Dr Samuel Ahadi Baghuma, IOM Nigeria Migration Health Officer. “This will reduce the high cost of conducting these tests and ensure timely submission of medical results of applicants to the various embassies within 48 hours of screening,” he added.

The new medical block will house the customer care and data processing units in order to ensure a more conducive environment to attend to applicants and to ensure better data protection of applicant records.

The MHAC will also further the training of its staff, in line with IOM Nigeria’s effort towards the development of staff capacity.

For more information, please contact: Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 803 645 2973, Email: jgalindo@iom.int