IOM Partners with WHO to Enhance psychosocial support to migrants, returnees and disaster victims in Ghana

Published Date: 
Fri, 06/18/2021 - 01:00


Accra (Ghana) - On 10 and 11 May 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), trained 70 officers of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) on migrants' mental health and psychosocial support. The officers have acquired new skills to support migrants, returnees and disaster victims, as well as pass on the newly obtained knowledge to their colleagues.

The training covered how to identify psychosocial issues in returning migrants/disaster victims; to apply positive communication skills; to provide psychological first aid; to handle stigmatization and trauma; to ensure ethics in counselling; to refer appropriately; and to understand the importance of self-care when providing psychosocial assistance.

“Each returnee, whatever their condition, should be helped to survive economically and psychosocially. In our quest to restore the psychosocial well-being of vulnerable returnees, psycho-social support has become an important equation in the reintegration process,” said Director-General of NADMO, Hon. Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh.

IOM is committed to support migrants and returnees holistically, including by expanding their access to mental health care. Therefore, IOM Ghana regularly provides capacity building trainings to government officials, traditional authorities, religious and opinion leaders, health and social workers, including in migration-prone communities across the country.”

“Addressing the mental health issues of vulnerable groups, such as returning migrants and disaster victims, has been identified as an integral component of a holistic approach to the reintegration process for returning migrants and rehabilitation of disaster victims. Capacity building is critical in providing humane, supportive and practical help to people affected particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve their well-being and recovery,” said Dr Francis Kasolo, WHO Country Representative for Ghana.

Sensitizing community leaders and migration stakeholders about mental health and psychosocial support is key to a holistic approach to reintegration. Over the years, IOM Ghana has built their detection and counselling capacities thus contributing to an enabling environment for returnees to become fully functioning members of society.

“IOM is working closely with its Government counterparts to coordinate migration governance. Similarly, IOM is working with its sister UN Agencies, such as WHO, to support Government in its COVID-19 response and recovery. The need to support migrants with their mental health concerns has increased with the spread of COVID-19. Economic hardships, isolation, anxiety and stigmatization, are among the issues that have presented a heightened threat to their mental health,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

In Ghana, the provision of sustainable reintegration assistance is coordinated among migration stakeholders through the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees. The psychosocial dimension is a crucial pillar. IOM, in coordination with the Government of Ghana, and as part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, has conducted workshops to sustain the use of the SOPs.

The two training-of-trainer workshops were organised as part of the “Assistance to Ghanaian returnees and potential migrants” project, funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), through the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GGC). Since the beginning of the project in 2019, 551 (350 men, 201 women) have been trained in 10 regions of Ghana.

For more information, please contact Juliane REISSIG, Public Information Officer, IOM Ghana, at