In January, 6,891 Cambodian migrant workers returned from Thailand, 54 of them were diagnosed with Covid-19 and 595 were placed in quarantine, according to a report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Cambodia.

According to the quarterly report released on February 21, since March 2020 more than 270,000 workers have returned from Thailand.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the IOM continues to facilitate the development of a national strategic plan for migrants’ health policy which aims to ensure health protection and equitable access to health services for migrants and their families, the report said.

Kristin Parco, IOM chief of mission in Cambodia, said in the report that IOM was grateful for the ministry’s ongoing commitment to resolution 70.15 on Promoting the Health of Refugees and Migrants that was endorsed in May 2017 by the World Health Assembly.

In November, IOM, joined by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), visited some of the most active points of entry and quarantine centers in Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey and Battambang provinces.

IOM and UNFPA supported returning migrants with food provisions and hygiene supplies upon their arrival, and collaborated with provincial authorities and health departments to ensure that all migrants had access to Covid-19 prevention measures to minimise the risk of a wider community outbreak. They were able to distribute 2,500 food packages and hygiene kits.

In December, a further 11,365 food packages and 4,310 hygiene kits were supplied to the three provinces for distribution to newly returned migrants at points of entry, quarantine sites and treatment centers.

The report said that with the new national quarantine requirements, the number of migrants in quarantine sites had decreased substantially, with the border provinces using purpose-built facilities, rather than schools, to host them.

IOM – with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – collaborated with Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provincial health departments in accelerating Covid-19 vaccination efforts for returning migrants from Thailand.

The overall objective was to ensure that returnees could access vaccines and receive at least the first dose before returning to their home communities.

The report said IOM had organised refresher trainings on vaccines and vaccination management for 118 health workers in Banteay Meanchey province, with the aim of improving health workers data recording and reporting.