Feature Briefing

The refugee crisis: what care is needed and how can doctors help?

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4881 (Published 10 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4881
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist, London
  1. annecgulland{at}yahoo.co.uk

What can doctors do to help the refugee crisis?

This was the first thought of many when the photographs of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who died trying to cross the Mediterranean, were published last week.

Social media were awash with pleas from ordinary people for essential items such as soap and blankets to send to refugee centres in Europe. However, both Doctors of the World, which is the only charity providing medical aid in Calais, and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) are urging doctors who wish to help to donate money.

“We’ve had offers of help but for people wanting to work in our clinic in Calais, for example, we’re asking that they speak perfect French and that they have experience of working with refugees,” said Nick Harvey, spokesperson for Doctors of the World.

“If doctors want to help out they should donate to an organisation like ours and the money will go on things like bandages and medicines,” he said.

A MSF spokesperson said, “What the last week has shown is that our government follows, not leads, and that the force of public opinion makes a crucial difference. If people want to continue to help, they should let their MPs, and other local and national leaders, know they …

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