Early formation: In 2016, the Migration Health Division (MHD) of the International Organization for Migration, in partnership with several academic institutions and researchers launched MHADRI. The network formed on a need to build a global alliance of migration health researchers and scholars to provide a platform to share, collaborate, develop, advocate and disseminate research at the nexus of health and migration. Participation and support of researches from global south countries is a key priority for MHADRI.
Rationale: Studying the health of migrants and mobile populations residing within and crossing national borders, across diverse linguistic and cultural gradients and with differing legal status pose challenges in evidence generation. A key outcome of the 2nd Global Consultation on migration health (GC2) that took place in February 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was the importance of migration health (MH) research in guiding evidence-informed national, regional and global migration health policies and practices: “Academics have a key role to play in advancing the MH agenda by furthering research at the nexus of human mobility and health, encouraging the exchange of research findings, developing research methodologies/tools and enhancing technical training/capacities for capturing migration health data”. The consultation highlighted the need for an organized global platform to enable academics, inter-governmental agencies and other partners to come together, collaborate and drive MH research. Evidence to policy making also works best if research is linked to national policy making processors. The operationalization of this vision requires meaningful partnership between researchers, academic institutes, journals, UN, development partners, research trusts and philanthropic foundations.
Since its inception, MHADRI network members have actively participated and contributed technical papers at high-level policy forums and UN conferences. Many have utilized the network to formulate, develop and successfully obtain collaborative grant funding to drive national research projects (e.g., the Cambodian study on left-behind children and caregivers). Members have also undertaken focused systematic reviews on MH topics and partnered with leading scientific journals to promote research calls. Network members have also been summoned to provide expert input by member state led processor such as the formation of national guidelines in migrant health examinations for the Government of Sri Lanka.
IOM was appointed by members as the secretariat of the network in 2017, and plays a role in supporting network communication, developing member repository and administrative support. The network is not owned by any one organization. Academic independence and participatory engagement are key principles of MHADRI.