Supporting migrant mothers and children in the anthropocene through UHC

Meeting Organizer

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden


Contact Person : Peter Friberg,

28 January 2020
14:00 - 17:30 hrs.
Venue : Lotus Suite 11

Open to All Participants


Aim:Highlighting the burden on migrant mothers and children by climate change, and the importance of UHC. The Sustainable development goals target many aspects of human health and well-being and they are inter-connected in a complex adaptive system. Any failure to meet sustainable development goal number 13 on climate change, threatens UHC by increasing the burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, and challenges already fragile health systems in many low and middle-income countries. Mitigating current and future changes to Earth’s complex climate system has rightfully earned a central position on global policy agendas, recently confirmed by UNGA#74. As the consequences of climate change is becoming less a matter of if it will happen, and more of to what extent, a movement to adapt to these new conditions are urgently needed. Ensuring that a stationary population can access health services of good quality is difficult in many settings. Delivering UHC to a migratory population is even more challenging. As the number of displaced people due to climate change is predicted to be around 150 million by 2050 in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia taken together, societies’ successful adaptation to a changing climate is paramount to secure health of their most vulnerable, mothers and children. This includes delivery of care which is culturally sensitive. As a central tenant of the 2030 Agenda, the principle of leaving no one behind must drive efforts to reach those hardest hit by our species’ relentless exploitation of our home planet, including targeting mothers and children specifically. Investment in interventions proven to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality is essential. Placing children at the centre of the SDGs harnesses the integrated nature of the SDGs. It also emphasizes the importance of partnerships between governments (intersectoral), business and civil society for a successful outcome. A health systems approach is a useful starting point but overall remains insufficient due to commercial, political and social determinants of health. Paradoxically, given the size of the problem there is limited evidence on the barriers and facilitators to the integration of health services for migrants, especially refugees. One of the conclusions is the importance of intersectoral approaches, which apply for UHC in general. Other recommendations include: Coordination of existing and private services; Introduction of a system navigator; Advocacy and legislative support; Alternative models of care to reach vulnerable women and children. All of the above will be discussed in the context of UHC, as well as policy insights. This means that also the other UHC determinants for migrant mothers and children, such as health promotion and prevention, will be addressed. Preliminary agenda 5 min Introduction, Göran Tomson (moderator) 20 min Key note speech: Climate change and health, Associate Professor Maria Nilsson, Umeå university and Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health (15 min incl. Q&A) 10 min Global Child Health and Maternal Health in the context of UHC Johan Dahlstrand (10 min incl. Q&A) 10 min Achieving the right to health and healthcare for Refugee mothers and children, Verena Knaus, Sr Policy Advisor, UNICEF, (10 Min incl. Q&A) 15 min Education migrant children – the case of Thailand Rapeepong Suphanchaimat, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand (15 min incl. Q&A) 10 min Supporting UHC for migrant mothers and children by involving decision-makers: using knowledge translation, approaches and tools Abdul Ghaffar, CEO Alliance Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO. (10 min incl. Q&A) 10 min Reflections from a global health ambassador Anders Nordström, Swedish MFA 30 min Coffee break 60 min Group work Multidisciplinary groups, including at least one decision-maker per group Based on the presentations and their individual expertise/experience, discuss how best to facilitate intersectoral collaboration and successful integration of migrant services within existing health systems in their respective country of origin. Here the principles of UHC, namely access to health promotion, disease prevention and curative care as well as financial protection will be addressed. Each group will summarise recommendations to be presented in plenary. Country comparisons will be made for generating opportunities for generic solutions. Both existing evidence to be implemented as well as areas of needed research should be addressed. 45 min Reporting and discussion (45 min) 5 min Reflections and way forward Göran Tomson (5 min)


Exploring barriers and enablers regarding access to UHC for migrant mothers and children, as well as tools to involve researchers and decision-makers for improvements Target audience: ideally researchers representing different disciplines, and decision-makers