European Network to reduce vulnerabilities in health

Hosted by Médecins du monde – Doctors of the World

Position paper on access to healthcare in Germany

Doctors of the World Germany 

Although medical insurance is compulsory in Germany, many people have no or only limited access to the health care system. In 2016, the official number of men, women, and children living in Germany without healthcare coverage was 80,000, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The actual number, however, is significantly higher.

Click here to read the position paper in English and German


The Vulnerability Network Newsletter #9 is out!

The European Network to Reduce Vulnerabilities in Health is wishing you a great holiday season

Newsletter #8

The Vulnerability Network Newsletter #8 is out!

Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) Germany’s new leaflet

Since 2015, MdM Germany has taken part in the “European network to reduce vulnerabilities
in health”.

This leaflet is part of that project. It is meant to inform the public of what the partners do and why and to raise awareness of the hardships encountered by people who have limited access to the healthcare system.

Over the past decade, MdM Germany has offered free medical care and counselling to people with little or no access to the healthcare system, in Germany. This is a matter of some urgency, as, officially, about 80,000 men, women and children in Germany have no healthcare coverage. The actual “unofficial” figure is far higher. However, even some people who do have insurance, such as many homeless persons, occasionally have difficulty accessing the healthcare system.

Click here to access MdM DE’s leaflet in English

Launch of the 2017 Observatory Report at the European Parliament

On 8 November 2017, the European Network to Reduce Vulnerabilities in Health launched the 2017 Observatory Report at the European Parliament
  • The first panel introduced the findings of the Observatory report, with speakers such as Enrique Guerrero, current co-President of the Global Progressive Forum, Member of the European Parliament for Spain and Vicepresident of the SD Group from 2012 until January 2017; Patricia Lalonde, MEP and member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; Rob Aldridge, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow at the Institute of Health Informatics, University College of London; Vivien Vadasi, migration expert from the Hungarian association Menedék; Nina Renshaw, Secretary General at EPHA (European Public Health Alliance); Sandrine Simon, Health and Advocacy Director at Medecins du Monde France.
  • The second panel opened a discussion on “will the EU lead the right to health for migrants in Europe?” with speakers such as Tanja Fajon, Slovenian MEP and Vice-Chair of the S&D Group in charge of Migration and Communication and full member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; Isabel de la Mata, Principal Advisor with special interest on health in the European Commission; Nel Vandevannet, Director of domestic projects in Médecins du Monde Belgium; Michele Levoy, Director of PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants).

The 2017 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.

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.


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.”

You can access the full Observatory report here, and the Legal report on access to healthcare in 16 European countries here.

You can access the full video of the event at the Parliament here.


Conference on Empowerment in Budapest – 19 October

On the 19 October, the European Network and Menedék organised a conference on empowerment in Budapest

The conference gathered members of the Network and several Hungarian associations. They discussed topics such as community development; preventive health; supporting local organisations; practices & strategies of empowerment.

There were 5 speakers for 4 very interesting interventions:

  • Edel Mc Ginley, Director of the Migrants Right Center Ireland (MRCI), spoke about community development as a tool for collective action, empowerment and social change
  • Eliot Wieslander, Executive Director of Läkare i Världen (Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde Sweden), presented a method developed by MdM Sweden, to talk about health in a preventive way together with people who have very little prior knowledge about health, very small resources to improve their health and who are living in environment where they are at heightened risk of contracting infections
  • Maya Esnart Liwonde, representing the association of African women “Flor de África” and Fatima Djarra, social mediator at Médicos del Mundo, explained how Médicos del Mundo and Flor de África work together around matters related to health, sexual and reproductive health, female genital mutilation and other issues
  • Iva Jovovic, Executive Director of Udruga Let in Croatia, spoke about the practices and strategies of empowerment

Equal access to vital maternal healthcare for vulnerable refugee women across Europe remains a challenge

Médecins du Monde Greece publishes research & policy recommendations based on the direct experience of 14,000 refugee women who received care through their Mother & Child Programme

The research findings were presented at “Unspoken Voices: Meeting the health needs of women refugees across Europe”, an international conference held in Athens on 3rd October organised by Doctors of the World to highlight the issue as part of Safe Motherhood Week 2017 (2-9 October)

Securing equal access to primary health care and maternal health for pregnant migrant and refugee women remains a great challenge across Europe and if pursued can be cost beneficial to national health care systems in the future. That’s according to new research of almost 14,000 refugee women who received care from Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde) following their arrival in Greece.

The research reveals the significant challenges refugee and migrant women across Europe face in accessing maternal healthcare, and the implications this is having on the health and mortality rates of mothers and their babies. Doctors of the World Greece, an international humanitarian movement surveyed over 14,000 women who received care through the Mother & Child Programme which was funded by a grant from MSD for Mothers, a global initiative which aims to address issues related to maternal health.

The research also explores the economic analysis around providing equal access to regular maternal healthcare for refugees, as opposed to emergency-only care.  Despite widely held views that EU member states can’t afford to provide equal access to care for refugees this research shows that access to quality care is likely to generate long-term cost savings for health authorities and alleviate pressures on healthcare systems across Europe in the future.

The research findings prompted Doctors of the World to develop the ‘Refugee Health Policy Recommendations’ to aid European Governments and EU Institutions in planning to meet the health needs for these migrants who are being relocated to countries across Europe. The policy paper entitled, “Refugee Health Policy Recommendations for European Governments and EU Institutions” calls on all EU Member states and institutions to study the research supporting the recommendations and unite in supporting it.

You can access the full press release here, and an interview of MdM Greece’s president, dr.Nikitas Kanakis, to The Guardian here

Study on empowerment

The European Network to reduce vulnerabilities in Health is looking for a consultant to do a study on empowerment – read the terms of reference and find out how to apply here


Newsletter #7

The European Network newsletter#7 is out!

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