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WHO collaborating centre in Italy continues to support refugee and migrant well-being

WHO collaborating centre in Italy continues to support refugee and migrant well-being

13 September 2023 - The Italian National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty (INMP) is now redesignated by WHO as a Collaborating Centre (CC) on Health and Migration Evidence and Capacity Building. To date, INMP has served as a CC for four years. It provides insights and offers context to support the design and implementation of policies that promote the health and well-being of refugees and migrants. The scope of its work surpasses national and European boundaries, sustaining Member States at a global level. 

“WHO/Europe deeply values its partnership with INMP,” said Jozef Bartovic, a technical officer with the WHO Migration and Health Programme. “In the field of migration and health, comprehensive data and evidence is often scarce. Collaborating with leading research institutions on refugee and migrant health enables us to close knowledge gaps and make available evidence accessible to policy-makers. This re-designation shows the commitment on both parts to continue the successful collaboration, driven by the shared objective to improve the health of refugees and migrants, leaving no one behind.”

Inclusive health systems

By providing insights and offering vital context through technical guidance and reports, the CC serves to inform policy-making for more inclusive health systems. INMP contributed to the publication of the first WHO World Report on the health of migrants and refugees. It was also closely involved in drafting the Action Plan for Refugee and Migrant Health in the WHO European Region (2023–2030), which will be presented to Member States for adoption at the 73rd WHO Regional Committee for Europe, in Kazakhstan in October. 

In 2022, INMP, together with WHO Europe, hosted the 5th Meeting of WHO Collaborating Centres for Migration and Health in Rome, Italy. The CCs and other key academic partners and experts from WHO Europe, came together to establish synergies in their ongoing work to address priority action areas for refugee and migrant health across regions.

“Collaborating with WHO has a double, bidirectional benefit,” explained Leuconoe Grazia Sisti, co-Head of the WHO CC on Health and Migration Evidence and Capacity Building. “Through WHO, national research entities acting as WHO CCs put their expertise at the service of global communities and, in turn, they acquire a supranational perspective that allows them to promptly capture international best practices and positive trends and infuse them into their national contexts.”  

Training health workforces

This mutual benefit is apparent in the INMP mission to address social and health inequalities affecting vulnerable populations, including refugees and migrants. 

“We accomplish this by adopting a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to research, technical support, policy guidance and health-care service provision,” said Alessandra Diodati MD, PhD and co-Head of the Centre. 

INMP is one of the few CCs in the WHO European Region that directly provides health services to vulnerable communities as well as training health and social services workforces at regional, national and international levels in refugee and migrant-sensitive service delivery. 

The redesignation has been welcomed by the CC’s staff. “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success,” said Anteo Di Napoli, an epidemiologist with the WHO CC, citing a famous quote by industrialist Henry Ford.

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