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MSF in France, 2011
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The economic problems in France are making access to healthcare more difficult for migrants. The rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and foreigners in ill health are increasingly being called into question.
At their medical and psychological center in Paris, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team takes care of people who have sought refuge in France. Most have fled war zones in Afghanistan, Chechnya or Sri Lanka and are suffering from a range of health problems. Many of the people who come to the center have had extremely difficult lives and have suffered numerous traumatic experiences, including that of exile.
The main aim of the staff is to help the most marginalized people – those who do not speak French and who do not have documentation permitting them to stay in France. Psychologists, social workers, doctors and nurses all work at the center, so patients have access to a range of support. In total, staff carried out 6,300 consultations, and mental health staff saw 200 new patients.
The vast majority of the 1,000 patients who received medical assistance in 2011 from MSF doctors and nurses sleep on the streets or in temporary accommodation, and have no health insurance. During the course of the year, in order to further improve access to healthcare, MSF nurses started holding weekly clinics at three emergency hostels run by the non-governmental organization Emmaüs.
At the end of 2011, MSF had 30 field staff in France. MSF has been providing medical assistance in the country since 1987.