Migration Health South Asia Network
Migration, mobility and displacement are critical social and structural determinants of health.
Recent developments offer a strong imperative to mainstream migrant and refugee health in global, regional, and country agendas to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030. These initiatives signal a positive shift to bring together migration policy and health policy and systems goals, and they provide a comprehensive policy framework for Member States to realise the vision of the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals to ‘leave no one behind’. Yet, significant gaps remain in research and policy at regional and country level necessary to achieve these goals. The evidence/policy disconnect is most prominent in the global South as global policy debates and developments continue to be grounded in scholarship emerging from the North; thus undermining peculiarities and complexities of mobility in Southern contexts and their implications for health systems and development goals.
The Migration Health for South Asia (MiHSA) network evolved to fill this knowledge and capacity vacuum by establishing a vibrant South-South knowledge exchange and learning platform on Migration and Health rights to engender meaningful partnerships across sectors and between countries in the South Asia and the UK in order to inform an inclusive migration and health research and policy agenda.
 including the UN resolution on promoting the health of refugees and migrants (2017), the Framework of priorities and guiding principles (2018), launch of the Global Action Plan (GAP) for the health of Migrants and Refugees (2019) and the UN Political declaration of the high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (2019).
The overall purpose of this initiative is to develop a South-South learning platform on Migration and Health rights to strengthen community of research and practice and engender new collaborations to address evidence gaps for responsive and coherent migration and health policies.
- To advance a collaborative research agenda on different aspects of mobility, displacement and health in South Asia through academic stewardship;
- To facilitate exchange and partnerships between scholars in South Asian countries and the UK to establish a community of learners and engender critical voices on Migration and Health;
- To strengthen capacities of early and mid-career researchers and professionals (practitioners, policy makers) in South Asia and the UK working on migration health and intersectional inequalities and support development and execution of collaborative research;
- To undertake regional and country-specific stock taking of knowledge and evidence gaps; and advance the ‘field’ by:
- grounding migration health scholarship in Southern contexts and gendered and intersectional perspectives;
- promoting ethical inter-disciplinary research;
- facilitating dialogue between diverse stakeholders: civil society, national/international NGOs, government institutions, multilateral agencies, and migrant communities.
What MiHSA does
In alignment with its objectives, MiHSA has three core sets of activities:
1. Strengthening research capacities, skills, and knowledge
The network runs professional training programmes and workshops on Migration, Health and Rights for early and mid-career scholars and professionals working at the intersection of the evidence and policy spheres in migration and health. Some of the training workshops held by the network include:
Workshop on engendering research and reframing policy and public debate on migration and health. April 25-28, 2019. Held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Workshop on Bibliometric Analysis for Migration and Health scholars – November 11-14, 2019 co-organised with IOM in Manila.
2. Identifying key priorities and defining research agendas
With partners in South Asia, Kapilashrami is spearheading a systematic, transparent and democratic approach to identify and set key research priorities linked to contemporary policy debates at the intersection of health and migration in South Asia.
Watch this space for more details on process and timeline.
3. Synthesising evidence and Advancing the field
Assessing the current status of research activity and identifying gaps in research output from South Asia is an important step in mapping and strengthening the evidence-base in migration health. The research workshops facilitated by the network and coalition of its partner organizations highlighted the importance of such stock-taking using bibliometric and meta-analysis alongside national, sub-regional and regional ‘deep dives’ into migration health literature. Such exercise is aimed at analysing the size, distribution, scope and thematic focus of research.
Watch this space for more details on this work.
The MiHSA story
The Migration Health for South Asia (MiHSA) network emerged from a series of consultations, policy dialogues and a capacity building workshops for early career researchers held in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia. These meetings were part of Queen Mary University of London led initiative - Strengthening Policy and Research Capacities (SPARC) on Migration, Rights and Global health- supported by the British Council. The SPARC initiative aimed to strengthen research capacities and skills of early career researchers from both the UK and South/ South East Asia to advance collaborative research agenda on Migration, Health and Intersectional rights. A consensus emerged as to the need for dialogue across research and policy communities in the region, and for a collective learning space that facilitates such dialogue, takes stock of evidence, strengthens capacities and develops and delivers a collaborative research agenda and praxis.
MiHSA’s remit is to steer such a collaborative agenda, bring about partnerships and support its members and partners in delivering this collaborative agenda for evidence-informed and responsive policies in migration health.
 The workshop was delivered in collaboration with other partners - UN-IOM, University of Edinburgh, Delhi University, Nepal Institute of Development Studies, and Migration Health and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI).
Opportunities to get involved
The Network Team
MiHSA is an evolving network involving key scholars and practitioners in research and policy institutions in South Asia and/or in the UK. Digitally hosted by the Queen Mary University of London and chaired by Dr Anuj Kapilashrami, the network benefits from meaningful partnerships with several key institutions with a country level, regional and global mandate.
Seeking Active Researchers and Collaborators
Active researchers and practitioners from any discipline and institutional affiliation are eligible to be a MiHSA member. Specially:
- Early or mid-career researchers based in higher education institutions and/or NGOs, currently researching any aspect(s) of the relationship between mobility/migration/displacement and health.
- Any person who has or is currently engaging with evidence and policies on any aspect(s) of the relationship between migration and health in South and South East Asia or with South Asian populations in the UK.