MSF close clinic

Asylum seekers, mainly Zimbabwean nationals, have expressed their disappointment over the closure of a clinic run by international health organization, Médecins Sans Frontières.

Late last month, MSF closed the facility that was situated next to the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, where a high number of Zimbabwean nationals sought refuge.

The closure of the clinic has come as a major blow to asylum seekers who accessed healthcare at the clinic. Most of them said they were now finding it difficult to access healthcare from public institutions because of doctors who demanded that they produce identity documents.

“The MSF clinic had come to my rescue on many occasions. To add to our woes, accessing health at public institutions is an uphill task because of xenophobic officials there. At MSF, we were not asked to produce any documentation before we could be attended to,” said a Zimbabwean asylum seeker.

MSF set up the clinic in 2008 together with another one in Limpopo near the Zimbabwean border. At the height of the crisis, MSF said it treated between 4 000 and 5 000 Zimbabweans each month at the two clinics. While the one in Limpopo remains in operation, MSF officials said the closure of the health facility in central Johannesburg was necessary.

“The problems that the asylum seekers faced when we set up the clinic have eased and the access to healthcare services at public institutions has improved,” MSF South Africa Unit’s, Jens Pedersen, said.

Post published in: Health

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