MiHSA Story.

MiHSA Story:

The Migration Health for South Asia (MiHSA) network emerged from a series of consultations, seminars and policy dialogues held in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia. These meetings were part of – Strengthening Policy and Research Capacities (SPARC) on Migration, Rights and Global health- an initiative supported by the British Council and led by the founding chair of the Network and Global Policy Initiative in Queen Mary University of London with other institutional partners in the region. The SPARC initiative aimed to strengthen research capacities and skills of early career researchers from South & South East Asia and the UK to advance a collaborative research agenda on Migration, Health and Intersectional rights.

These meetings culminated in a capacity building workshop for early career researchers held in Kathmandu and delivered in collaboration with other partners – Nepal Institute of Development Studies, UN-IOM, University of Edinburgh, Delhi University, and Migration Health and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI).

Through these deliberations a consensus emerged around the need for dialogue across research and policy communities, and for a collective learning platform that facilitates such dialogue, takes stock of evidence gaps, strengthens capacities, and develops and delivers a collaborative research agenda and praxis.

MiHSA’s remit is to facilitate partnerships and support its members in delivering this collaborative agenda for evidence-informed and responsive policies in migration health.

Migration and Health & ‘South Asia’?

Migration, mobility and displacement are critical social and structural determinants of health. Recent policy developments offer a strong imperative to mainstream migrant and refugee health in global, regional, and country agendas to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030. The UN resolutions and action plans for promoting health of migrants and refugees signal a positive shift to bring together migration policy and health policy and systems goals, offering a comprehensive policy framework for the 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 global, regional and country-level necessary to achieve these goals. Most prominently, global policy debates and developments continue to be grounded in scholarship emerging from the North, neglecting the peculiarities and complexities of mobility in Southern contexts (or of Southern diaspora in the North) and undermining possibilities for contextual knowledge to inform health systems and development goals.

Migration Health for South Asia (MiHSA) network – comprising researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners – was formed to fill this knowledge and capacity vacuum by establishing a vibrant community of learners and enabling dialogue (and knowledge dissemination) across sectors through meaningful partnerships between countries in the South & South East Asia, and with the UK. These partnerships hope to drive change in research practices and emergent scholarship in countries in South Asia as well as the UK (among scholars studying diaspora or migration in Southern contexts).

The network’s focus on ‘South Asia’ implies a broader geography than the imagery invoked by the term and defined (inconsistently) by international agencies. The network’s membership is open to scholars and practitioners in countries in the Southern and South Eastern region of Asia; as well as South Asian scholars in the UK studying migration in these contexts and/or issues related to South Asian diaspora in the UK.