Mobile Health Caravan Initiative in The Gambia

In an effort to strengthen the psychosocial reintegration of returnees and promote universal access to healthcare in their communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), community health volunteers and doctors provide free medical consultations, psychosocial support and complimentary medicine to over 200 community members through the mobile health caravan. Simultaneously, health education sessions on HIV, tuberculosis, depression and other mental health-related disorders are conducted daily. the initiative was designed to address the medical and psychosocial concerns of returnees who often return from difficult and traumatic experiences, and their communities, who are equally impacted by the departure or loss of lives of their families and friends. Returnees identified with medical or psychosocial needs are followed up by IOM staff and referred to relevant health authorities. his initiative came as a result of an analysis of conflict drivers in The Gambia conducted by the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, in which the stigma and negative perceptions faced by returnees were identified. The caravans were designed to include communities in the reintegration process.  The first two caravans are the beginning of a series of 10 planned events, which will all take place in communities with the highest number of returnees. Prior to each caravan, health volunteers in the community are trained on the provision of psychological first aid and basic counselling skills. SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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