BU’s researchers Dr. Pramod Raj Regmi and Dr. Nirmal Aryal have recently visited Malaysia for a consultation meeting. They organised meetings with stakeholders working on migration health related and Nepali migrant workers as Public Patient Involvement (PPI ) in Malaysia. These meetings discussed risk factors for sudden nocturnal deaths and kidney disease among Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia.
More than 350 Nepali migrant workers die in Malaysia every year. Nearly one-fourth of them die from cardiovascular problems often during their sleep, many without previous signs or illnesses. This also seems to be the case in South Asian workers in the Middle-East. The cause of death is hitherto unknown. During a consultation meeting on 19th April, participants suggested several possible causes of these deaths and strongly supported the idea of carrying out verbal autopsy with close friends, employers, roommates, etc. The emerging health issue of kidney health risk among Nepali migrant workers and its risk factors were also discussed. A total of 25 participants attended the meeting. Participants from many different disciplines , including from migration health researchers from several universities, migrant workers’ non-governmental organizations (NGO), the Malaysian Ministry of Health, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Malaysia. FHSS’s Drs Aryal and Regmi facilitated the consultation workshops.
On the same day, Dr. Regmi and Dr. Aryal met with the Nepali ambassador to Malaysia Mr. Udaya Raj Pandey and his team and discussed migration issues. The Nepali Embassy in Malaysia is aware of these health problems and the ambassador committed to provide any support required for further investigation in these issues.
On 20th April, another PPI was carried out among Nepali migrant workers at their living quarters. Around 20 Nepali migrant workers participated. During this meeting, issues of sudden nocturnal deaths and acceptability and feasibility of verbal autopsy tools, problem of kidney disease and its possible triggers were discussed. The research into the usefulness of verbal autopsy tool as a good example of BU’s FUSION, since research can lead to a change in practice regarding health of migrant workers through better education of the migrant community, their left-behind families and NGOs working in the field.
These consultation meeting and PPI were intended to develop basis for further research in these area and build collaboration in Malaysia. The NGOs North-South Initiatives (Mr. Adrian Pereira and his team) and Migrant Workers’ Health Alliance (Dr. Erwin Martinez Faller and his team) have locally co-ordinated these events. These activities were conducted from the QR pump-priming fund awarded to Dr. Aryal this year in FHSS.
Finally, on 21st April, Dr. Regmi and Dr. Aryal were invited to the Philippine Embassy to share knowledge on mental health risk among migrant workers. They have presented findings of previous BU’s research on it as well as existing evidence on mental health risk on migrant workers and their left-behinds. More than 60 Filipino migrant workers attended the event.
As Malaysia is a popular destination for migrant workers from Asia Pacific and South Asia (there are currently more than 700,000 Nepali workers in Malaysia), these consultations will play a significant role in designing and developing grant applications to promote health and wellbeing of migrant workers. This consultation meeting builds on recent work on the topic conducted at BU [2-14] as highlighted in the recent Research Brief Migration and Health (Jan. 2019).
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