Posted by: africanpressorganization | 2 March 2010

South Africa / HIV Prevention and Treatment Not Accessible to Migrant Workers in Southern Africa / A new IOM study has found that migrant workers in Southern Africa have relatively low and inadequate access to HIV prevention and treatment services, although they have high a vulnerability to infection.

 


 

 

 

South Africa / HIV Prevention and Treatment Not Accessible to Migrant Workers in Southern Africa / A new IOM study has found that migrant workers in Southern Africa have relatively low and inadequate access to HIV prevention and treatment services, although they have high a vulnerability to infection.

 

 

PRETORIA, South Africa, March 2, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes

The findings are based on a regional assessment of the HIV vulnerabilities of migrants and mobile workers in the southern Africa region commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and funded by the Southern Africa Prevention Initiative of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Conducted in eight countries (Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia) over a five-month period from July to November 2009, the assessment focused primarily on labour migrants employed in the agriculture, mining, transport, construction, informal cross border trade and the maritime  sectors.  Irregular migrants were a secondary focus.

The study found that numerous factors contribute to the increased HIV vulnerability of migrant workers, mobile populations (and the communities that they interact with), including:

*    Boredom and loneliness resulting from the long periods of time spent away from home;
*    Poor social environments in which alcohol and sex are the only forms of entertainment;
*    Multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships including commercial and transactional sex;
*    Low HIV knowledge and inconsistent condom use;
*    Limited access to HIV prevention services;
*    Low coverage of social and behaviour change communication programmes.

Additionally, irregular and undocumented migrants face special health vulnerabilities as they often avoid accessing public health services, citing reasons such as the high cost of healthcare services; fear of being deported; language barriers and possible xenophobic attitudes of healthcare service providers.

The report makes a number of recommendations to help reduce the HIV vulnerability of migrant workers and mobile populations. These include: the need to look at migrants within a public health context and developing programmes for migrants and the communities with which they interact or “spaces of vulnerability”; the need for further research to examine sexual behavioural patterns within the migration process; and the need for governments to introduce comprehensive HIV/AIDS policies that cover the specific vulnerabilities faced by migrants, in particular access to healthcare at their work place and in their home countries.

USAID’s Southern Africa Mission Director, Mr. Jeff Borns, said, “USAID supported this valuable research to find out how susceptible the migrant workers are to HIV and AIDS, and to gain valuable guidance for those seeking to address the needs of such a vulnerable and underserved group.”

The complete report titled Regional Assessment on HIV-prevention needs of Migrant and Mobile Populations in Southern Africa can be downloaded from:
http://iom.org.za/site/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=22&Itemid=238

Sector-specific reports can also be downloaded from
http://iom.org.za/site/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=22&Itemid=238

For further information, please contact Nosipho Theyise at IOM Pretoria, Tel: +2712 342 2789, Email:  ntheyise@iom.int

 

SOURCE 

International Office of Migration (IOM)


 


Categories

%d bloggers like this: