Migration and Health

Migration, Socio-Economic Development and Rehabilitation of Vulnerable Groups

Socio-Economic Integration Through Social Enterprise Development to Address the Problem of Drug Abuse Among Georgian Nationals, Including Returning And Potential Migrants 

IOM Georgia implements a project for social integration of former drug users through the establishment of Social Enterprises mainstreaming therapy through work approach. This thirty month project contributes to rehabilitation and integration of at-risk, stabilized and former drug users, including returning and potential migrants, by developing national capacities for socio-economic inclusion and empowerment as a sustainable solution to the problem of drug abuse in Georgia based on transfer of Swiss know-how.

IOM established six Social Enterprises in cooperation with five Social Enterprise Implementing Partners. Overall 130 beneficiaries (migrant or potential migrant drug users in a remission period) will complete a long term rehabilitation programme and will be employed within these six Social Enterprises established with the support of IOM and SEM (State Secretariat for Migration of Switzerland) and with counselling support rendered by Swiss Foundation Contact Netz.

This project is funded by the Federal Office for Migration of Switzerland (FOM).

In response to the August 2008 crisis, IOM implemented a comprehensive mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) project, which included needs-tailored MHPSS interventions outreaching to eight most isolated and newly built IDP settlements and involved capacity building of primary health care and psychosocial service providers (including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, community and religious leaders) to ensure the sustainability in provision of direct MHPSS services to IDPs.

In 2011-2012, with the support of the IOM Development Fund (IDF), IOM Georgia in collaboration with the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC&PH) implemented the project “Research Study on Health of Migrants in Georgia”. The project was aiming at conducting a comprehensive Migrant Health Survey to determine the prevalence of major non communicable diseases’ (NCDs) behavioural and biological risk factors among diverse migrant populations residing in Georgia (internally displaced persons subsequent to the Georgia-Russia war in August 2008, foreign migrant students, asylum-seekers, trafficked migrants, returned migrants Georgian nationals and foreign migrant detainees), to assess issues pertaining to the access and affordability of health and MHPSS services, to study migrants’ MHPSS and cultural anthropological needs, to define psychosomatic conditions emerging subsequent to migration per se and to ascertain migrants’ knowledge, attitude and practices on NCDs. The project was designed by IOM Georgia and IOM Migration Health Division (MHD) in a close collaboration with the Department of Emergency Situations Coordination and Regime of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia (MoLHSA). The sustainability of the given project consisted in strengthening of the Health Information Systems of Georgia by mainstreaming health related data on diverse migrant groups residing in the country to ensure planning of coordinated action in response to the existing challenges. In view of this, bilingual Migrant Health Survey report (in Georgian and English) was prepared and published and findings were disseminated and widely discussed with the leading stakeholders in the domain of healthcare.

Throughout the course of 2012-2013, IOM Georgia with the support of the United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and in a close cooperation with the Interagency Coordinating Council for Combating Drug Abuse headed by the Minister of Justice of Georgia implemented the project “Capacity Building of Law Enforcement Structures to Reduce Drug Demand in Georgia”. The given project was aiming at reinforcing the National Anti-Drug System of Georgia by facilitating following processes: 1) supporting a high profile cross-sectoral dialogue for the elaboration of the National Strategy on Combating Drug Abuse and the corresponding Anti-Drug Action Plan for 2014-2015. This action resulted in the adoption of the aforementioned Strategy and Action Plan on 4 December, 2013; 2) establishing specialized Counselling and Referral Centres for mobile populations with an outreach to four regions of Georgia (Tbilisi City, Kakheti, Imereti and Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti). In these Centres persons suffering from substance dependency (returned migrants Georgian nationals, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as local populations) were able to get updated information concerning the available social, health, psychological and legal services, including educational opportunities. During the course of the project implementation period IOM Counselling and Referral Centres provided counselling and assisted 100 individuals in overcoming the problem of substance abuse and contributed to their self-empowerment and efficient re-socialization through needs-tailored assistance. 3) Bilingual Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials (in Georgian and English) on primary prevention and harm reduction were produced, published and disseminated in 6,000 copies in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance (MCLA), the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC&PH), the Ilia State University and the Harm Reduction Network partners. The IEC materials were distributed through the resource centres of the MoES, the National Anti-Drug System partners’ network and the community of substance abusers.