of patients attending the healthcare and advice clinics (CASOs) are foreign nationals
Vulnerable foreign nationals, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors... For all migrants living in France, access to healthcare is difficult. Unreasonable demands for supporting documents made by health insurance agencies, increasing numbers of conditions imposed for access to State Medical Aid, difficulties in providing a fixed address – these are all obstacles which prevent people from accessing healthcare.
Migrants suffer from many different conditions, including respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, dental problems, back pain, skin infections and high blood pressure. Some have left their countries because their lives were at risk and others have gone through terrible ordeals in order to reach France. And their physical pain is often accompanied by severe psychological problems (depression, anxiety and psychosomatic conditions).
Aboud, aged 23
“I’m from Darfur in North Sudan. I left hell behind me, because there’s a war there. They’re killing everyone and famine is everywhere. Before I left, I thought that France was paradise. I thought it would be easy to get a house, a job, an education. Now I know how hard it is. It’s not what I thought it would be, but I’ve escaped from hell and at least there’s peace here.“
What we do
Doctors of the World has been working for years to ensure that these men and women who are fleeing conflicts and lawlessness are received with dignity and to make sure that they have access to healthcare in France.
Migrants, whether they are documented or undocumented, with or without medical coverage, can attend our health and advice clinics freely and at no cost. There they receive healthcare and help with the administrative procedures for obtaining the medical coverage to which they are entitled and are directed towards mainstream health services.
The experience of exile causes physical and mental suffering which we seek to address by offering psychological support at our centres.
Finally, we operate mobile outreach services which go to the migrants where they live. We offer services such as nursing care, medical consultations, information on infectious disease prevention and screening.
The experience of exile causes physical and mental suffering.
Volunteers meet migrants in Calais ©Olivier Papegnies
Part of the mission of Doctors of the World is to collect medical and social data, as well as reports on migrants’ living conditions and the difficulties they encounter in accessing healthcare, prevention and their rights. This enables us to approach institutions and call for the establishment of appropriate facilities on an adequate scale, and access for all to Health Service Access Points (PASS).
The data collected are used to compile the report of the Observatory on Access to Healthcare in France, which is published annually.
Doctors of the World campaigns for access to rights and healthcare to be simplified for vulnerable foreign nationals (including the removal of residence restrictions and merging the systems of State Medical Aid (AME) and Universal Health Insurance (CMU)). In Mayotte, only French citizens and adult foreign nationals with permission to reside are covered. Children of undocumented migrants and unaccompanied minors have no form of health protection. We are calling, at the very least, for access to healthcare for all minors and for the law in Mayotte to be harmonised with the law in mainland France. In Calais, where large numbers of migrants are passing through makeshift camps, we are campaigning for a long-term solution to be found to this urgent situation.
We campaign for access to rights and healthcare to be simplified for vulnerable foreign nationals.
As a member of the Observatory on Migrants’ Right to Health (a group of organisations which publicises and condemns the problems encountered by foreign nationals in access to healthcare), Doctors of the World is actively seeking to ensure that the reforms of the asylum process and the law on foreign nationals, scheduled for 2015, take its recommendations into account.
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