IOM Afghanistan is supporting undocumented Afghan returnees to access vital health services and protection support with the support of EU Humanitarian Aid. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, deportations and spontaneous returns from Iran have surged as the virus has cost lives as well as destroying livelihoods – more than 502,000 people have returned so far this year.
When people reach the border, they are screened for COVID-19 and any suspected cases are directed to government health facilities for treatment, supporting infection prevention and control. Anyone in need of specific support – such as unaccompanied children, elderly persons, or single women – is identified by IOM’s Cross-Border Return and Reintegration (CBRR) and Protection teams, and urgent medical cases are prioritized for treatment by Mobile Health Teams.
IOM’s Protection staff are providing targeted assistance to the most vulnerable undocumented Afghans to ensure they are able to access key information, services, and reach their final destination safely. They have reached 1,800 vulnerable returnees with context-specific and reliable World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 prevention information since May to reduce transmissions.
To build on the comprehensive response in place, IOM’s teams have also been taking part in capacity building activities to ensure well-coordinated, safe, timely and dignified access to services to migrants at points of entry.