- About Us
- Our Work
- Work With MSF
- Public Events
- Press Room
MSF in France, 2006
All articles on France »
Whilst healthcare and legal solutions do exist, undocumented migrants in France experience many difficulties in obtaining the information and documents necessary to access state medical aid.
In 2005, MSF conducted 7100 medical consultations with migrants in ongoing programs through medical/social clinics in Paris (4700) and Marseille (2400). Eighty-eight percent of those who received MSF care did not have medical coverage, although most were potentially entitled. MSF social workers conducted more than 2500 consultations to help patients obtain their rights to health coverage through social security and referred them to agencies for help with basic needs such as accommodation, meals, clothing, and legal information.
Although referral to specialists has been easy to manage, this was not the case for people suffering with mental disorders. New arrivals experience isolation and many have gone through a violent journey whilst trying to migrate, often from war-torn countries. In 2006 MSF intends to focus its medical activity toward those seeking asylum. Having come from countries with armed conflicts, many of these individuals suffer mental disorders directly or indirectly related to violence.
Offering cold-weather assistance in Calais
From November 2005 to March 2006, MSF was present in Calais to provide assistance to migrants intending to cross the channel towards England. Sleeping outdoors for an average of 20 days before leaving France, these migrants — mostly from conflict zones in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East — faced harsh winter weather and strict barriers to healthcare. Apart from emergency hospitalization, they could not access any other due state medical aid.
Using a mobile clinic, an MSF physician saw an average of 20 patients per day and coordinated any necessary referrals. The majority of patients sought help for infections or orthopaedic conditions related to their journey. MSF also complemented food distributions with weather protection kits. By the end of March, MSF closed the project after ensuring that state agencies would improve their system and that another actor, Médecins Du Monde, was in place to continue primary care.
MSF has worked in France since 1987.