Doctors of the World Report Finds Gaps In European Healthcare - Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World Report Finds Gaps In European Healthcare

Healthcare systems across Europe are failing the continent’s most marginalized people.

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.

As well as physical ailments, many patients were suffering from psychological trauma.

MDM Greece

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. 

“They’re coming to us as a last resort with serious, sometimes life threatening conditions because they’re falling through the cracks in official healthcare systems.” – Dr. Françoise Sivignon


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.

Healthcare is a human right and should not be a political weapon.

“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.”

Read The Full Report

You can download our 2017 Observatory Report here.

Impact. Delivered monthly to your inbox.