Supporting Asylum Seekers
Serbia continues to see an increasing number of asylum seekers: since the beginning of the refugee crisis, 393,069 people were registered in Serbia. RMF has been responding to the refugee crisis since January 2016, by providing comprehensive protection and medical services to persons of concern. Our team works in and around the Belgrade city center, providing outreach medical care and referral services for secondary and tertiary care institutions. We operate 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM daily at our mobile medical clinic located within the Obrenovac Collective Center, the largest refugee camp in Serbia, with a second medical team providing referrals from the camp. In February 2017, we began a second initiative near the border with Croatia, operating the medical clinic at the Adaševci Transit Center from 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM, seven days a week. Adaševci Transit Center is home to approximately 1,100 refugees and asylum seekers.
RMF Serbia’s team also has the skills to identify and refer extremely vulnerable individuals—women, children, victims of sexual or gender based violence, victims of human trafficking, or victims of other forms of exploitation—for appropriate assistance and follow-up by relevant institutions.
Our main goal is to provide emergency triage, basic primary health care and culturally accepted referral services to secondary and tertiary care for refugees in Serbia.
- 13 medical doctors provide first aid and primary health care for refugees.
- 5 translators and cultural mediators provide understanding and support.
- Our medical teams and cultural mediators identify and refer extremely vulnerable cases.
- Our teams remain mobile and flexible, able to rapidly relocate to areas in greatest need.
- RMF partners with national and local government, as well as multilateral organizations such as UNHCR and other NGOs, including MSF and Doctors of the World, to support a comprehensive and well-coordinated response.
- In 2016, RMF’s team served an average of 1,500–2,000 refugees and asylum seekers per month. Across three locations, we are currently serving approximately 4,500 patients per month.
- RMF works in collaboration with other organizations such as the Asylum Information Centre, Praxis, and Save the Children to provide supplies such as food, water, clothing, and hygiene kits.
- We ensure linguistic and cultural understanding through Arabic and Farsi speaking interpreters and cultural mediators.
Increasing Need, Decreasing Aid
- While the number of illegal entries has increased exponentially, the number of NGOs working in Serbia has decreased.
- The number of complex medical cases requiring secondary and tertiary care is increasing.
- General feelings of hopelessness are on the rise, resulting in tensions and frustrations among the refugee population. Our beneficiaries are becoming increasingly aware, after multiple failed attempts to cross the northern borders illegally, that they will not be able to enter the EU via Serbia. Psychosocial support is urgently required.
- Integration efforts are absent.
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