October 10, 2017
World Mental Health Day
The Doctors of the World Observatory Report draws on data and interviews gathered from 43,286 people who attended clinics and programs run by the Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde network and partner NGOs in 14 countries in 2016. Our patients included national citizens in their own countries, as well as refugees and migrants – many of whom have fled violence, conflict or discrimination in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. Almost a quarter of those seen by Doctors of the World were children under 18.
Of those who responded to our survey, more than 50% had experienced violence and more than 60% of those who had children were separated from some or all of their children. 89% of patients did not have enough income to meet their basic needs, let alone pay for medical care.
“What our patients have in common, wherever they come from, is that they find themselves in extremely tough situations,” said Dr Françoise Sivignon, President of Médecins du Monde France.
Doctors of the World, along with our partner NGOs, has treated patients with a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, as well as women with complications arising from pregnancy. More than half had no health insurance and could not afford official medical care.
Many respondents said they were unable to navigate the administrative hurdles of local health systems; some lacked knowledge of the local language; and others faced discrimination, were turned away or feared arrest.
“Our data suggest that people aren’t coming to Europe to access healthcare – but excluding them from services presents a very real risk to public health. It comes down to a political choice,” added Dr. Sivignon. “Certainly, budgets are tight, but it’s in all our interests that everyone is reached by healthcare and this is often more cost effective in the long run.”