This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Chris Giannakas. The writer studies medicine in National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
The arrival of more than 1.3 million migrants to the different countries caused a wave of commotion and outbursts that rapidly spread in the whole of Europe. The number of migrants resurrected the fear, and many times the abhorrence, of the people that the migrants would lead to political and everyday quarrels.
The controversial issue of accepting the migrants came up. Every teenager and adult, no matter how absorbed by their everyday job, surely understood the chaos. Because before even beginning to understand what was happening, the roots and the facts of the situation, the lives of those people and how they are going to continue, the mass media kept overmetioning the problems and the difficulties that would appear.
Although solutions and strategies were suggested, we were only learning about the hindrances that were developing and the nightmarish scenarios which were promising only disasters and long-lasting crises. Sciolism, prejudice and the lack of knowledge about political and health issues lead to even more people spreading panic through the media, despite the developments. Τherefore, even though the large number of migrants should concern us and make us question our beliefs, the migration crisis can be dealt with.
Migrants tend to be in relatively good health when their journey begins. Throughout the process of migration, however, they ail from a variety of diseases. Βreathtaking pictures showing the journey of migrants make us question even the basic health rules. However even after their resettlement, the facilities were they are staying in can’t offer them safe and full health conditions.
As a result the migrants are exposed to a plethora of diseases due to the weather conditions and the absence of health rules. Food, water and clothes, goods that we all count on, seem inaccessible to migrants and threaten them with diseases. The lack of access to medicines results in many of them suffering from diseases that can easily be cured. Furthermore, no-one can ignore the psychological problems migrants deal with.
Unfortunately in most countries the public health system closes its door on migrants, encroaching the right to health. There are many ways that can lead to changing this situation. For example, movable teams of doctors and nurses that help migrants free of charge and give them some basic medicines can be created. Places and buildings which are not used today can be used to host migrants.
In every hospital there can also be a translator for the better communication between the doctors and the migrants. Nowadays a lot of voluntary, non-governmental organizations have achieved these and more, making healthcare accessible to migrants. We can all support these organizations by giving clothes and food and through volunteering from which only winners we can be.
“Reacting to reported claims by some politicians that migrants could bring ‘possible epidemics’ into the EU, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU have taken a clear stance: the risk of an outbreak of infectious diseases resulting from the current influx of migrant populations is extremely low. Migrants do not pose a greater threat to public health than international travellers.”
As medical students it is our obligation to step up in this crisis, that is a human crisis after all. Medical students have an obligation, as future doctors, to maintain the values of professionalism and medicine not only throughout medical training and into one’s carrer but also throughout their lives. We shall do what our job is to do: to help people.
Concluding, the migration crisis is a challenge for all of us and our beliefs. As humans we have the obligation to step in and fight for the best.
” We who live every day the distress of our fellow humans who have our need and seek for our help, feel their anguish, their insecurities, their pain but also their hopes…”
– Médecins du Monde
About the author
With Special thanks by the writer to Mr Chris Fiamegkos who helped Mr Giannakas with the editing of the story