(31 August 2022) – Since the pandemic started, the Department of Health (DOH), through the Migrant Health Unit of the Bureau of International Health Cooperation was able to organize the 13th PMHN Meeting on a hybrid platform. The meeting was held at the B Hotel in Quezon City where 50 stakeholders joined onsite and 30 stakeholders participated virtually. The PMHN meeting is conducted twice yearly and has been a venue for stakeholders to discuss ideas, experiences and perspectives relevant to migrant health, as well as to advocate and lobby support for issues on the health of migrants and overseas Filipinos.

One of the meeting agenda is the presentation on the status of the Philippine Migrant Health Network Strategic Plan 2016-2022. This plan serves as a guide for the implementation of various migrant health initiatives, and among the 70 action points of the Strategic Plan, 60% were accomplished while 18% are ongoing. This achievement is attained because of the collective efforts of the PMHN Members.

The meeting also highlighted the activities and commitments accomplished during the 1st semester of 2022 as well as the future plans of the four Technical Working Groups (TWGs) of the PMHN, namely, Health Promotion and Service Delivery, Policy Advocacy and Research, Financing and Resource Mobilization, and Regulations, Information Management and Monitoring.

Several updates from PMHN Members were also presented, such as:

1. Current Updates on COVID-19 Vaccination by Dr. Michael Imran Rodriguez of the National Vaccination Operations Center of DOH
2. Latest Quarantine Protocols for the General Public and OFWs by Dr. Michael Galope of the Bureau of Quarantine of DOH
3. Updates on the Overseas Filipino Workers Children’s Circle by Dir. Benny Reyes of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Regional Operations Coordination Service
4. Updates from the Department of Migrant Workers by its Assistant Secretary for Land-based Services, Jerome Alcantara
5. Updates on the OFW Hospital by the hospital’s current administrator Dr. Dante Dator

Another important discussion point is the preparation for the 5th National Conference on  Migrants Health (NCMH). This biennial event gathers government officials, policy makers, academic experts, and representatives from international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and migrant associations in order to stimulate dialogue and debate on the health dimensions of international migration.

Lastly, the PMHN Members announced their upcoming activities for the second semester of 2022, among these are: PMHN Strategic Planning Workshop, activities for the Month of Overseas Filipinos and the 5th iteration of the Professional Course on Global Migration 2022 by UP-CIFAL Philippines.

Before the meeting was adjourned, a closing message was given by Ms. Carmelita Nuqui, the President of the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch and PMHN Vice-Chair, who congratulated everyone on all the accomplishments made by the network despite the pandemic.