Guatemala to Triple Reception Capacity for Its Returning Migrants at Airport

Date Publish: 

Guatemala, reintegración, retornados

Guatemala City – Guatemala will triple its capacity to assist its migrant populations returning by air from Mexico and the United States, when a new migrant support centre under construction at the La Aurora International Airport is opened later this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is overseeing construction of the Centre for the Reception of Returned Airborne Populations, which will then be managed by the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM) when it opens in June 2019.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided USD 1.2 million for the construction and sourcing of furniture and equipment adapted to the needs of those who return to the country.

The centre – which is being built on Guatemalan Air Force land granted by the Ministry of National Defense – is part of efforts to dignify the return process and provides the first step towards successful reintegration in the communities of origin.

"This is an important step for Guatemala, especially a significant step in the restitution of the rights of migrants, national security, the protection of returnees and dignifying migration processes," said Jorge Peraza Breedy, Chief of IOM Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The building will include recreational areas adapted to the needs of unaccompanied migrant children, adolescents and returned families, in line with the Best Interests of the Child concept; a room for breastfeeding, medical clinics, telephone calls, a psychosocial interview room, a checkpoint and a waiting area for those who arrive to receive their relatives, among others.

The initiative will help Guatemala meet the growing challenges of managing human mobility, encourage social and economic development through migration and ensure respect for human dignity and the well-being of migrants.

During the first semester of the year, the IOM will implement actions that facilitate the integration of other government institutions to offer services and services for the returned migrant population.

The construction of the centre is part of IOM’s Return and Reintegration Project in the Northern Triangle of Central America, supported by USAID.

Between January and November 2017, 60,073 people were returned to Guatemala from Mexico and the United States; in 2018, in the same period, 87,560 returns were recorded, representing an increase of 45.8 per cent. The departments with the highest number of returnees are (in order): Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Quiché, Quetzaltenango, and Guatemala.

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Email:, Tel: +502 2414-7401

It’s Time to Think Universal!

Date Publish: 
22 / 03 / 2019

Geneva – IOM´s successful Tuberculosis (TB) control efforts have surpassed their targets, benefiting communities in countries of origin and destination for migrants around the world. IOM´s successful Tuberculosis (TB) control efforts have surpassed their targets, benefiting communities in countries of origin and destination for migrants around the world. The sustained high treatment success rate is largely attributed to early detection, active case finding, directly observed treatment (DOT) and targeted patient-centred, migration-sensitive care. 

In today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world, with about 258 million international and 760 million internal migrants[1], migration must be recognized as a social determinant of health, impacting upon every individual’s vulnerability and well-being. Migration also profoundly affects the lives of families back home, as well as people in communities of origin, transit and destination world-wide.

Despite well-established diagnosis and treatment regimens, TB remains a public health burden in many parts of the world and a leading infectious killer, with an estimated 10 million new cases andapproximately 1.3 million deaths in 2017[2], disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized populations, such as migrants. TB prevention and control efforts often do not address the specific vulnerabilities of migrants, which leads to delayed diagnosis and/or discontinued treatment.

The way in which many migrants travel, live and work, can carry risks for their physical and mental well-being.   Many work in dangerous, difficult and demeaning jobs, and live in isolation and sub-standard housing. Others may be detained in over-crowded detention facilities or live in camps as refugees or internally displaced persons. Migrants are thus among the vulnerable groups that face a particularly high level of TB risk factors.

In addition, migrants face barriers to accessing health services due to language and cultural difference, and administrative hurdles. Migrants are often excluded from social protection in health and are invisible to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programmes. As a result, many migrants pay out-of-pocket to get the health services they need, which may result in catastrophic health expenditure, delayed and substandard care.

It’s time for inclusion of migrants!  Worldwide, in 2018, IOM conducted more than 376,800 pre-departure health assessments for migrants and refugees and detected 584 active cases of TB, which translates to a TB detection rate of 155 per 100,000 health assessments. Active TB cases were either confirmed by sputum culture or diagnosed based on clinical and radiological findings. IOM works in collaboration with National TB Programs and is committed to accelerate the end of TB through the strengthening of migrant-sensitive health systems, able to assess and focus on the specific vulnerabilities and conditions of the migrant population. (see video with story from Jordan)   

It's Time to set ambitious goals for treatment success, which is possible based on the success story from IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, where DOT clinics surpassed targets with comprehensive care, by including active reach-out to patients and nutritional support, ensuring that neither patients nor their households suffer catastrophic costs due to TB, a key element in achieving the target 3.8 of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Successful treatment of TB hinges on DOT and patient-centered, migration-sensitive care, where an individual’s specific health needs, migration related vulnerabilities and desired health outcomes are taken into consideration. Treatment of persons testing positive is a core part of IOM’s health assessments for migrants, including refugees prior to resettlement. From 2010 to 2016, IOM’s Migration Health Assessment Centre in Kenya diagnosed 426 cases of active TB, treating 363 of them at IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics, while the others were referred for treatment. IOM Kenya’s TB DOT clinics sustained high treatment success rates over this period, ranging from 90% to 100%.

It’s time to be accountable to the TB commitments. IOM’s experience has shown that failing to address the health of migrants has severe consequences for the well-being of millions of migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination. Migrants urgently need to be included at global, national and local prevention and control strategies to end the TB epidemic, in line with the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Resolution 70.15 of the World Health Assembly on Promoting the health of refugees and migrants (2017).

Moreover, the End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration and the UN High Level Meeting Declaration “United to End Tuberculosis” afford a tremendous opportunity to ensure and commit at the highest level to not leave migrants behind and promote cross-border collaboration amongst countries towards reducing TB and HIV burden. Jacqueline Weekers, Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division said: “Ending TB means addressing the intrinsic linkages between population mobility and tuberculosis as well as acknowledging that UHC is only real if high risks groups are accounted for”.

For more information please contact IOM HQ

Carlos Van der Laat, Tel +14227179459, Email: