Algeria: Exiled Sahrawi population faces critical shortages in healthcare and food - Doctors of the World

Algeria: Exiled Sahrawi population faces critical shortages in healthcare and food


The Sahrawi Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Doctors of the World, has been steadfastly advocating for the right to health of the Sahrawi refugee population for over three decades. The partnership, rooted in the camps of Tindouf (Algeria), addresses the pressing health concerns faced by the Sahrawi people, particularly amid the humanitarian crisis resulting from nearly 50 years of exile.

Recently, in Rabuni, the administrative capital of the camps, the XX Roundtable for Concertation and Coordination in Health convened to improve the annual health strategy, aiming to ensure free and quality healthcare access. Doctors of the World, actively engaged in organizing and facilitating this initiative, alongside other NGOs and international agencies, reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the Sahrawi Ministry of Health in realizing the right to health for the Sahrawi people.

Central to these discussions are multifaceted challenges, including malnutrition, sexual and reproductive healthcare, and the overall sustainability of the health system. Notably, ensuring dignified compensation for healthcare workers emerges as a critical concern to prevent workforce exodus in the face of resource scarcity and multitude challenges.

Among the foremost issues addressed is the inadequacy of the basic food basket distributed to Sahrawi refugees, which reaches only 77% of the population and lacks sufficient quantity, diversity, and nutrition.  As a consequence, more than half of children under 5 years of age and 53% of women suffer from anemia, according to the latest report. 

Compounding these challenges are external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and other humanitarian crises, which have driven inflation and strained available resources. Consequently, humanitarian agencies, including the UNHCR, have faced funding reductions across essential sectors like health, water, and education, exacerbating the plight of vulnerable populations.

In March 2024,, intensifying their reliance on these rations for survival. The scarcity of sustainable alternatives in the arid, desert region compounds the vulnerability of these communities, underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action.

The NGO consortium underscores the imperative for coordinated and substantial responses from the international community, donors, and cooperation agencies to address the protracted humanitarian crisis facing the Sahrawi refugee population. Mobilizing resources and amplifying awareness are crucial steps toward alleviating their plight, which remains largely overlooked by mainstream media despite its enduring severity.



NGOs, members of the Consortium, that subscribe to this call:

  • Association of Friendship with the Sahrawi People of Seville (AAPSS)
  • Catalan Associations of Friends of the Sahrawi People (ACAPS)
  • Association Femmes, Action, Development (AFAD)
  • Navarra Association of Friends of the RASD (ANARASD)
  • Association of Workers and Technicians without Borders
  • Center for Rural and Agricultural Studies International (CERAI)
  • International Committee for Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP)
  • Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
  • Doctors of the World
  • Medicus Mundi Mediterrània
  • Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Freedom (MPDL)
  • Mundubat Foundation
  • Eyes of the World
  • Oxfam International
  • International Solidarity-Andalusia
  • Triangle Generation Humanitaire