Immigration : Illegals' Do Not Have Equal Access to Health Care, Warns NGO
While delivering the results of a European survey on access to care for illegally staying persons', the NGO Medecins du Monde (an organisation founded in 1980 by several doctors, including Bernard Kouchner, the current French foreign minister) was keen to draw attention, prior to the ministerial conference on Health and migration in the EU' held in Lisbon on 27 and 28 September, to the difficulties which illegal immigrants face in member states of the European Union.
The organisation considers that equal access to care for all is not assured, and asks for this fundamental right to be respected for "all persons residing in European territory, whatever their administrative status". It also calls for the non-expulsion, legalisation and access to care of seriously ill foreigners who cannot have effective access to care in their country of origin. "Our experience shows that the sick do not come to Europe in order to be treated: if they are sick, they cannot face migration," affirmed the organisation, adding: "Forgetting to integrate the poorest populations in the process of improving health systems would be a fundamental mistake in terms of public health, as well as in financial and human terms".
The data presented are previously unpublished, underlined Medecins du Monde, "since there are neither national surveys nor, more importantly, international surveys which take into account these people". Concerning primarily seven countries - Belgium, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom - it identifies "difficult" living conditions: 40% of people live in precarious accommodation and 11% live on the streets. All of them are without resources. Of the population questioned, two out of every ten people perceive their state of health to be bad or very bad. …