As of 27 December 2020, a total of 2,807,699 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, out of which 49,307 fatalities have been reported.
On 10 December 2020, IOM MENA co-organized a webinar on Expanding Universal Health Coverage among refugees and migrants: Challenges and Opportunities together with WHO EMRO, UNHCR MENA, and UNRWA to commemorate the Universal Health Coverage Day. At the round table discussion, Dr. Chiaki Ito, Regional Migration Health Specialist emphasized that no one will be safe if migrants are not included in health care systems ensuring health for all.
In commemoration of International Migrant Day on 18 December 2020, the United Nations Network on Migration in Kuwait facilitated its first public national consultation with non-governmental stakeholders among CSOs, media and academia. The dialogue facilitated four sub-group discussions on thematic priorities of 2021: Protection, Education, Access to Health, and Labour Market issues. The dialogue resulted in a cumulative list of recommendations and concluded with agreement to collaborate to address key issues pertaining the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable migrant communities.
The IOM Regional Office in Cairo participated in the COVAX regional working group led by WHO and UNICEF to coordinate support to countries in the region on COVID-19 vaccine delivery. WHO, UNICEF, and IOM agreed on the importance of advocacy, planning, and communication on inclusion of migrants in national vaccination plans to achieve health for all in the countries in the region.
A series of activities took place in the week leading up to 18 December 2020 to mark International Migrants Day in Libya. IOM held events to highlight migrants’ resilience, challenges and contributions to the Libyan community during the COVID19 pandemic. IOM organized a film screening, three Mental Health and Psychosocial Support workshops, a cloth mask making workshop for migrant women and COVID-19 awareness-raising activities. During the events, migrants shared their experiences, challenges, hopes and contributions to the community.