Medecins du Monde’s winter health operation started in Brussels on November 15th, for a duration of 4 months, revealed a press release from the organisation on Friday. The group is in charge of the medical and paramedical aspects of the winter scheme in Brussels and Antwerp. The operation will be launched in Antwerp on December 1st. In Brussels, approximately 100 rotating volunteers will offer free doctors’ consultations in 2 emergency reception centres, in rue Royale and Place Solvay, until the end of March.
In Antwerp, 75 volunteers will be available in 3 reception centres from the start of the winter scheme on December 1st.
“These consultations are fundamental when it comes to reaching people in need: these patients don’t have access to the normal health system – only 27% say they have a GP -, so we are offering them a unique opportunity to meet a healthcare professional”, explains Stéphane Heymans, who manages Belgian projects for Medecins du Monde.
Once volunteer doctors establish that the people they have seen need medical follow-up, they will be sent to permanent Medecins du Monde medical centres, both in Brussels and in Antwerp, or to other specialised centres (such as HIV screening or tuberculosis centres).
This year, the organisation is also setting up health promotion sessions for homeless women: “19% of our winter operation patients are women. They are particularly vulnerable. We are organising information sessions around various topics: hygiene, sexually transmitted infections, contraception (…)”, reveals the press release.
A mobile consultation room will also bring support to the volunteers on site. “Medecins du Monde’s Medibus drives around Brussels 3 times a week, mostly near train and metro stations, to provide nursing care”, adds Medecins du Monde.