Migrants Receive Tailored Services for International Women’s Day

Cairo, 27 March 2017 - In celebration of International Women’s Day, IOM Egypt has organized a month long series of events culminating in a health event on 23 March 2017 to offer free gynecological consultations and referrals to cancer screening services.

Beginning on 8 March 2017, IOM has been distributing over 750 dignity kits to all female migrants visiting IOM and in the process registered 120 women to attend the International Women’s Day health event. During the day, participants received medical checks and – whenever relevant – received referrals to undergo Pap smear tests that detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the cervix, as well as mammography exams for the early detection of breast cancer.   

“Early diagnosis remains the cornerstone of breast cancer and cervical cancer control. Our aim is to draw attention and raise awareness about early diagnosis. Limited access to effective screening means that the disease is often not identified until it is advanced and symptoms have already developed. But when cancer is discovered early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer and cervical cancer can be cured. This is why we offer on this day free consultations and free screening referrals,” explained Dr. Heidi Goubran, Programme Officer, Migration Health Unit at IOM Egypt.

The intervention has been initiated to address the limited access of migrants to health care resulting from xenophobia as well as harsh economic conditions that migrants face today more than ever before. According to official government statistics, prices of health care services went up by 36 per cent in recent months as a result of the government’s austerity measures; thus adding more pressure to the already restricted access.

In addition to the medical checks and cancer test referrals, a session on other wellness issues for women was also included in the agenda. All participants received medicated soap for female skin care and free consultations facilitated by a female dermatologist.

“I knew about breast and cervical cancer but I did not know what the symptoms or the means of prevention are. Today, I got the chance to learn more about that and I will definitely ensure that this information is further disseminated in my community,” said Hawa Mohamed, one of the beneficiaries attending the event.

The events ware organized within the framework of the regional project “Promoting Health and Well Being amongst Migrants in Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen”, and “Addressing Irregular Migration Flows and Upholding Human Rights Of Migrants Along the North-Eastern African Migration Route And North Africa - Noah Phase IV” with the generous support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

For further information, please contact Dr Heidi Goubran or Ms Amy Edwards at IOM Egypt. Tel: +202-27365140, Email: iomegypt@iom.int


  • Female migrants receive dignity kits throughout March as part of IOM's celebration of International Women's Day.
  • Female migrants attend an awareness raising session on breast and cervical cancer.