Side Meetings


Strategies to Address Health Inequity and Promote Inclusive Health Systems for Migrants: Lessons from Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, with Potential Applications to Other Countries


  • 08:30 - 17:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : World Ballroom B, FL. 23

  • Contact Person : Watinee Kunpeuk,

  • International Health Policy Program, Thailand
  • Health Systems Research Institute

South-East Asia has become a significant hub for international migration, with inflows and outflows of migrants. Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have emerged as key countries in this dynamic, serving as source, transit, and destination countries for migrants. Since the unexpected arrival of COVID-19, global communities have been deeply affected, experiencing profound consequences not only for public health but also negative impacts on social and economic outcomes. These effects have been even more pronounced among disadvantaged groups, including migrants. In 2022 -2023, the research project, entitled "Analysis of Policies to Address Health Inequity Among Low-Income Migrant Populations Amidst the Prolonged COVID-19 Pandemic: Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand," was conducted with the aim to address the global health policy challenges related to the growing health inequity among migrant populations in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lessons learned during the pandemic highlight the need to include migrants in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the national health systems. Reforming social and health financing schemes is required to make them more affordable and non-discriminatory, with benefit packages that cover migrant populations regardless of their status. To achieve this, it is essential to facilitate dialogues among migrant workers, employers, and the Governments to discuss insights on how to implement legislative and non-legislative interventions for improved social and health protection among documented and undocumented migrants. The sustainability of health financing from various sources should be part of long-term plans in response to emergencies.

  • Present and disseminate findings of a study on analysis of policies and long-term strategies to address health inequity and promote inclusive health systems for migrants in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, supported by APO to wider audiences including global, regional, and country experts and stakeholders from the 3 countries included in the study areas and interested countries beyond these 3 countries facing similar situations.  
  • Highlight policy-related actions needed to foster inclusive migrant health policies within the region, with a particular focus on policy recommendations to address health inequity among migrant populations in accordance with the ASEAN Health Cluster 3 on Strengthening Health Systems and Access to Care.
  • Solicit inputs and comments in relation to key challenges and policy recommendations to reduce health inequity and to promote inclusive health systems for migrants in the region, within and beyond the context of COVID-19.