Refugees and migrants in Serbia who attempt to irregularly cross the Croatian and Hungarian borders are often exposed to physical and psychological trauma, dehydration, nutritional disorders, hypothermia, and infectious diseases along their journeys. When arriving at Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre, they are often in very poor condition. However, many factors, such as limited access to healthcare services and cultural and linguistic barriers, often prevent refugees from seeking treatment for their conditions, leading to further complications or death.
At Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre, the RMF Balkans team works to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have continuous access to high quality health care. Our mobile medical clinic provides primary healthcare services from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM, five days a week. By providing a medical team consisting of 1 to 2 doctors, 1 cultural mediator/translator, and 2 drivers, an average of 30 to 60 health consultations are facilitated per shift.
A second medical team provides referrals for primary, secondary, and tertiary care institutions, and RMF Balkans is still the only organization in Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre which is providing transportation and escort services to these institutions.
RMF Balkans will continue to improve the wellbeing of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers in Belgrade and Obrenovac by providing them with primary healthcare services. By also providing referrals, transportation, and cultural mediation and escort services, RMF will continue helping migrants and refugees in Obrenovac and Belgrade access medical care at secondary and tertiary health facilities in Serbia. RMF Balkans acts as a bridge between refugees/migrants and public institutions in Serbia, while also reducing the burden on the public sector by providing medical care to project beneficiaries.
Health System Restrictions
Refugees and migrants cannot access comprehensive healthcare, as the Serbian health system limits nonnationals to receiving only basic healthcare, which also includes all emergency procedures.
Scabies and body lice infestations remain a challenge due to overcrowded spaces and poor hygiene in the camps.
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Due to poor living conditions, lack of privacy, and unfavorable social and economic circumstances, the number of refugees engaging in substance abuse and suffering from mental illnesses is rapidly increasing.
Since the beginning of the refugee crisis in Serbia in 2016, RMF has approached health care for refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers holistically, making sure to account for all the needs and challenges that may prevent them from accessing high quality care. RMF’s presence at Obrenovac Reception and Transit Centre and in the Belgrade city center has made it possible for refugees to obtain both preventive and curative treatment, sometimes after years without any type of medical support. In addition, the team of RMF Balkans doctors, translators, cultural mediators, and drivers have provided a safe environment where patients feel comfortable addressing their physical and mental health concerns. This project has improved the health status, wellbeing, and quality of life of refugees at the Obrenovac camp and in greater Belgrade.
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