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Migration and Health Impacts among Low-skilled Labors in the Greater Mekong Subregion: A Case Study

— theme: Migration and development
— country: Greater Mekong Sub-Region, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam
— type: Working Papers

Mekong Institute - April 2008. Linkages between migration and health have been one of the greatest challenges in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Migration across health exists among the population’s countries of origin and destination. In the GMS, health is still one of the lowest development indicators particularly for developing countries. For origin and destination countries, population mobility determines the factor contributing to the existing health indicators and potential spread of communicable diseases because of the lack of available protection mechanisms. For migrants, the mobility status, disparities in health access, couple with lack of supporting policies and attitudes put them at higher risk and vulnerable to many health problems. Incidences suggest that health concern of migrants is growing at an alarming rate while statistics over health diseases among migrants’ population are high and increasing. The negative health outcomes resulting from migration and population mobility will not only create long‐term effects on migrants’ health and their families but also public health planning and development as a whole. This paper seeks to review the health impacts among low‐skilled labors during different stages of their migration and gaps of policies involved in the Greater Mekong Subregion countries. The study includes qualitative data collection of Cambodia, Lao and Vietnamese migrants working in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. This study seeks to gather support for improving health related quality lives of those who experience the hardest as a result of the migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The results aim at promoting awareness and advocacy for concerned governments particularly the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfares to address some of the key challenges associated with migrants’ health and welfares.

Keoamphone Souvannaphoum/Mekong Institute
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