Serbia: Mobile Medical Clinic
3,355 Health Consultations Provided to Refugees: Q4 2018
February 01, 2019
Mirko Rudić, Dr. Dragana Marković, and the RMF Balkans Team
Summary of Activities
Since January 2016, RMF Balkans has been responding to the refugee crisis in Serbia by providing comprehensive protection and medical services to persons of concern. Our teams began by working 24/7 throughout the Belgrade city center, and when most refugees and migrants in the area were relocated to refugee camps, RMF Balkans and its medical services moved to the camps along with our patients.
RMF Balkans continued to build and maintain partnerships through the following activities:
- Continued to participate in monthly health cluster meetings in Belgrade, conducted by the Ministry of Health and supported by the World Health Organization and the heads of Serbian health centers. At the meetings, we assessed and discussed medical needs, priorities, and service gaps for this period as well as next year in an effort to build the capacity of health systems to respond to the refugee and migrant situation.
- Participated in weekly coordination meetings conducted in Obrenovac by the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and supported by all organizations working at the Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre: Save the Children, Center for Youth Integration, Caritas, Oxfam, Danish Refugee Council, SOS Children’s Villages, Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, and International Organization for Migration.
- Participated in meetings with the Director of Obrenovac Health Centre as needed.
- Communicated with the Institute for Public Health through weekly reports.
Providing Consistent Care
At Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre, the RMF Balkans team provides primary healthcare services from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM, seven days a week.
During this reporting period, RMF Balkans provided a total of 3,355 health consultations in the Obrenovac camp and Belgrade city center in collaboration with partners.
Helping Refugee Men
From October to December 2018, all of the Mobile Medical Clinic’s beneficiaries were men. Most were from Afghanistan (46) and Pakistan (45). Patients’ ages ranged from 18 to over 60 years old.
RMF Balkans also provides translation and cultural mediation services to refugees at Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre and in the Belgrade city center.
Meeting the Need
Transportation and escort services to secondary and tertiary care institutions continue to be a key challenge for the Ministry of Health and Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, and RMF Balkans is still the only organization in Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre which is providing these services for refugees and migrants.
From October to December, 238 people were referred to medical care facilities in Belgrade and Obrenovac.
RMF provides primary healthcare and emergency triage services at our Obrenovac Transit Centre mobile medical clinic from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM, 5 days a week. The work is implemented by a medical team consisting of 1 to 2 doctors, 1 cultural mediator/translator, and 2 drivers. This ensures that emergency cases arriving at the clinic can immediately access referrals to secondary and tertiary care facilities. By providing primary healthcare services, referrals, and cultural mediation, RMF improves the wellbeing of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers in Belgrade and Obrenovac.
- Improve the health status and overall wellbeing of refugees in Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre and greater Belgrade.
- Provide medical and translation services to refugees and act as cultural mediators for them at public institutions in Serbia.
- Refer, transport, and escort refugees and asylum seekers to secondary and tertiary medical care facilities in Belgrade.
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Lal Mohammad Ahmady
21 Year Old
Lal Mohammad Ahmady is a 21-year-old refugee from Afghanistan currently residing at Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre. Like the vast majority of the refugees, Lal started his trip to Western Europe in search of a better life and financial stability so that he can help his family who stayed in war-torn Afghanistan. Our team first met Lal one month ago, when he came to our clinic to seek medical assistance. Initially, his symptoms seemed to indicate the common cold, because his only complaints were a runny nose and itchy throat. However, thanks to the thorough approach and dedication of our team, he was found to have a severe heart murmur. RMF doctors acted promptly, and he was referred to a heart disease specialist at Obrenovac Medical Centre and diagnosed with severe stenosis of the pulmonary artery with cardiomyopathy. Considering this serious condition and the fact that he would soon need an operation, Lal was referred to the Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases, Clinical Centre of Serbia, the most prominent center for heart disease in the country. An appointment was made for a coronarography, a diagnostic procedure which is required before the operation. While Lal waits for this examination, he remains under the constant medical supervision of our team. We hope that, with RMF’s help, this young man will receive the best possible treatment so that he can continue his journey and achieve his plans for a better life.
24 Years Old
Asfma Efrem is a 24-year-old young man from Eritrea. On his journey to Western Europe, winter caught Asfma somewhere in the Serbian woods, and he will never forget his first encounter with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Asfma was attempting to warm up, but being unaccustomed to subzero temperatures, he made a terrible mistake: he put his rubber boots next to a fire to heat them up, but the high temperature caused them to melt and glue to his feet, causing severe burns. A couple of days later, his friends brought him to our mobile clinic to seek medical assistance, and Asfma’s condition was poor. He had a fever, and he couldn’t walk. His feet were swollen and in extreme pain, his wounds were large, and there was dead skin and foul-smelling pus. We knew that gangrene could easily set in, with a major possibility of Asfma losing several toes or even both of his feet if we didn’t act promptly and efficiently.
As always, RMF’s medical team reacted with great determination, putting forth all available resources in order to help the patient. Dead skin was removed from the wounds, and Asfma was given a high dose of antibiotics. The wounds were dressed twice a day, and some of the best Serbian surgeons were contacted. As a result, the treatments have led to a great improvement in Asfma’s condition. Although he is still under constant medical supervision, he is able to walk by himself, and will make a full recovery.