In the midst of Covid19 outbreak of, in adverse conditions, with the weather getting worse and worse, in a new, temporary camp set up in record time to house those who left Moria after the fire, in conditions that seem unreal even for the toughest, a new life came to light today, once again spreading the message of hope, resilience and future.
On 12.11.2020, in the MoH/ EODY health service area. in the new Mavrovouni (Kara Tepe) camp in Lesvos, MdM-Greece reproductive health team delivered the first baby born within the camp.
This is not the first time the organization has been confronted with such a task. This is actually our mission. We have come a long way across the deserts of Sudan and through the makeshift camps of Turkey and Haiti, eventually reaching back to the refugee shelters of Greece. We have worked in tents and in the countryside, with meager means and improvised solutions, supporting a multitude of women regardless of religion and nationality to smoothly carry out their pregnancy and deliver their babies. Supporting the right to life. To the life that insists, to a life that resists…
This new birth – within the pandemic and under quarantines and lockdowns- provides us with an opportunity to make a number of timely and – we hope – useful points.
The first, concerns the importance and necessity of primary health services. We would like to stress that ‘primary care services are the field in which the battle for health is won or lost’, also according WHO. Efforts to achieve universal health coverage should therefore focus on promoting primary health care.
A temporary camp – such as Mavrovouni – that is home to ~7,600 people (the largest refugee camp in Europe) must be fully and adequately covered by the necessary health and medical staff, who will be called upon to address any urgent health emergency that will definitely arise. Such a structure without appropriate health services operating within, can be dangerous for residents and is moreover incompatible with the humanitarian and medical imperative.
The threat of COVID-19 further diaspora inside and outside camps and accommodation structures to the wider island community has led to the expected need for movement restriction measures. At this stage in particular, when residents of the camp cannot move easily, it is crucially important that all health actors working in the camp synergize and collaborate in order to fit in primary health services for those in need.
In this way, not only the health needs of patients within the structure will be more adequately met, but valuable space and time will be given to the national health system, the local health care structures and the Vostaneio hospital, to respond.
These days, our society is being challenged by an unprecedented crisis. Let’s not leave anyone behind as we walk down this road. Recognizing that the dignity of every human being is a fundamental human right, let us try to reach those most in need on a priority basis.
The news of the birth in Mavrovouni brought once again joy and pride to all the staff of the organization. We have done our duty. We’ve done what we could. We’re there, wherever people are. It’s nice to be a Doctor of the World after all. Of all the world.