Free access to private clinics for refugees
The project in brief
The National Council of Order Physicians of Morocco (CNOM)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Morocco
1 June 2020 - 01 June 2023 (renewable)
In June 2020, the National Council of the Order of Physicians of Morocco (CNOM) signed a multiyear partnership agreement with UNHCR. The main objective is to mobilize private sector clinics and practicians to provide free consultations, treatments and surgeries to refugees living in Morocco especially where specialized treatment is not available within the public sector. Over 200 refugees received treatment so far and several free surgeries were performed. In the sector of ophthalmology, a private clinic in Rabat (Vision private Clinic) has offered US $ 50,000 worth of consultations and surgeries for refugees living in Rabat.
During World Refugee Day 2021, the CNOM organized a healthcare campaign hosted by a local foundation, Association Marocaine Médicale de Solidarité (AMMS), in a highly equipped medical centre where 164 refugees benefitted from free healthcare, 35 specialized physicians participated in the action.
- Mobilising voluntary contribution of physicians to the cause of refugees in a form of free consultations, treatments, and surgeries…
- Help refugees access health services in private clinics where public services are not accessible.
- Promote the right to health for refugees
- Shedding light on the life of refugees as a tool of sensitising the public on the scope and scale of refugee issues.
- All institutions wishing to contribute to the facilitation of access of refugees to health services in Morocco act within the framework of the National Policy of Immigration and Asylum (NPIA) launched in Sep 2013. It remains the main political framework of immigration and asylum governance in Morocco.
- The CNOM is an independent institution with an independent budget. The CNOM acts impartially and independently and mobilises members to contribute to the cause on voluntary basis.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Within the health programme of UNHCR Morocco, the health focal point who has access to refugee health files, refers critical cases needing immediate intervention to PSP focal point who coordinates with the focal point in the Council of Physicians (CNOM) who identify voluntary specialised physicians or private clinics and refer the case to secure intervention.
In coordination with the health implementing partner, UNHCR and the CNOM organise open days in different themes either health for children, for women, prevention of diseases where the CNOM Mobilises various resources, additionally to volunteer physicians in various specialities, materials and equipment and provide treatments, consultations and other services including surgeries.
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- AMPF Moroccan Association for family planning
Challenges and how they were overcome
The main challenge that we encountered was the fact that the research was conducted during the measures of national confinement induced by the COVID19 situation. Mobility of researchers was restricted as that of refugees too. Reaching out physically to interview refugees was not feasible.
The main challenge that the partnership encountered is the data sharing process
How they were overcome
The health subject is very sensitive, and files of refugees are very personal, and refugees may sometimes not accept to share their health files being shared with other physicians.
The CNOM and UNHCR have jointly agreed on a protocol of data sharing to protect refugee data and personal information and consent of refugees is sought prior to any referral.
Results of the Good Practice
- The public was informed of the particulars of the life of refugees in Morocco thanks to the large media exposure (over 50 news articles, TV and radio news journals). An improved public awareness will facilitate local integration.
- Political leverage was gained as the CNOM is the highest regulating authority for physicians in Morocco.
- Key policy makers are sensitised to the urgency of action which significantly contributes to the process of advocacy for a national asylum law.
- Ministry of health and other political actors are sensitised to the urgency of action for a systematic inclusion of refugees in the public health services at different levels.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The work with the National Council of the Order of Physicians is in the heart of enhancing refugee self-reliance. Reinforcing access of refugees to health care systems in the host country reinforces protection. Access to health eases the pressure on refugees, preserves their dignity and enhances their self-reliance.
This cooperation between UNHCR Morocco and the National Council of Order of Physicians will continue in the future, the MoU signed is for a multiyear partnership agreement.