Since the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016, migrants and refugees previously in transit through the Greek islands have been trapped there for an indeterminate time in overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions, without access to basic services, adequate shelter or information on their legal status.
We provide medical and mental healthcare to migrants on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos, as well as in Athens. Our activities include vaccinating migrant children against common childhood diseases, providing sexual and reproductive healthcare, treating chronic diseases and providing care for survivors of torture and sexual violence. On the islands of Lesvos and Samos we also provide emergency medical assistance to people in distress once they arrive by boat from Türkiye.
Our teams in Lesbos and Samos have reported overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions while being contained on the islands. We have made repeated calls on the European Union to completely change its approach to migration, which is causing avoidable harm to the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.
Our activities in 2022 in Greece
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2022.
Throughout the year, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff witnessed the severe toll that precarious living conditions, arbitrary asylum procedures and fear of deportation was taking on people’s physical and mental health.
Our teams continue to work on Lesbos and Samos islands and in Athens, providing general healthcare, treatment for chronic diseases, psychological and psychiatric support, and sexual and reproductive health services, with a focus on survivors of sexual violence. Social and legal assistance is also available in our projects.
On Samos, we run a day centre in Vathi, supporting the medical needs of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants. We also provided general healthcare through mobile clinics within the Samos Closed Controlled Access Centre (CCAC).
On Lesbos, MSF works in a clinic opposite the Mavrovouni CACC. During 2022, we offered emergency medical and psychological first aid to new arrivals on the island and organised ambulance referrals to the hospital for those needing further care. This intervention enabled us not only to ensure people’s safe landing but also to bear witness to their reception by the authorities.
In Athens, our day centre offers a range of healthcare and social and legal services for migrants excluded from the national health system. Social workers and cultural mediators help patients navigate the healthcare system and ensure their basic needs are met, while legal experts give advice on their human rights.
In addition, mobile clinics provide basic healthcare, sexual and reproductive health services and health promotion to people living in precarious conditions in the city and in seven refugee camps in the Attica region. For the first half of 2022, we ran our Access to Vaccination Against COVID-19 project, aiming to facilitate access to vaccinations for excluded migrants and refugees residing in these locations.