Why are we here?

Healthcare exclusion

  • Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers are living in detention or in open centres in Malta, and conditions can be very hard. Unwelcoming measures are affecting migrants’ health.
  • In 2008, Médecins Sans Frontières set up a programme to provide medical and psychological care in the detention centres to which all new arrivals were sent.

Medical care in detention centres

  • From August 2008 until October 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières ran medical activities in Safi, Lyster Barracks and Takandja detention centres.
  • In Safi and Lyster Barracks, appalling living conditions and poor access to healthcare contributed to the deteriorating physical and mental health of detainees. Many migrants have experienced multiple psychological traumas relating to violence, including sexual violence. 

Poor living conditions

  • Poor living conditions, a precarious social situation and a lack of future prospects exacerbate the effects of mental trauma and many people have difficulty coping.
  • In 2009, MSF suspended its work in the detention centres as the poor conditions in the centres were compromising the effectiveness of its medical care. MSF resumed work in Takandja between June 2009 and October 2010, screening new arrivals and carrying out consultations. 

Working in open centres

  • Until June 2010, Médecins Sans Frontières medical teams worked at a clinic located at Hal Far, in southern Malta, for migrants and asylum seekers who had been moved from detention to open centres.
  • Health promotion teams held workshops on hygiene and other topics both on site and at the open centres.
  • MSF focused its energy on the creation of a sustainable network that would be able to provide mental health support on a long-term basis.

Cultural mediation

  • Cultural mediators facilitate communication between patients and health staff by removing many barriers of language and culture.
  • MSF successfully advocated for and initiated the provision of cultural mediation services, assisting almost 7,700 consultations in this way.
  • In 2010 the national health authorities employed five cultural mediators to assist in the provision of care at health centres, four positions were opened in Mater Dei hospital, the largest public hospital, and plans were made to create positions at Mount Carmel hospital.

For the latest news on where we work visit: http://activityreport.msf.org/
MSF has worked in Malta since 2008 to 2010.