UPDATES FROM THE GROUND

In this newsletter, we will share our new project in Serbia, our new clinic in Thessanolik, our social integration project in Germany and more.

Check the English and German versions on the link below:

NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2022 – English

NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2022 – German

In autumn 2022, we will start our MVI meets Friends Tour through Germany. During our tour, we want to draw attention to the ongoing catastrophic situation at the EU’s external borders, we want to show you ways to get involved, we want to meet other associations/organisations and initiatives and YOU.

You can find all the news about the tour at: https://medical-volunteers.org/mvi-meets-friends

Im Herbst 2022 ist es soweit, wir starten unsere MVI meets Friends Infotour durch Deutschland. Im Rahmen unserer Tour wollen wir auf die fortlaufend katastrophale Lage an den EU-Außengrenzen aufmerksam machen, wir wollen euch Möglichkeiten zum Engagement aufzeichen, wir wollen andere Vereine/Organsiationen und Initativen und euch kennenlernen und/oder wiedertreffen.

Alle News zur Tour findet ihr unter : https://medical-volunteers.org/mvi-meets-friends

After we started the project HilfsBUS in March, shortly after the Russian invasion, the goal was to facilitate the way from Ukraine to Europe for as many people as possible. After the first successful journeys, however, the need became apparent elsewhere. People with special protection needs, BiPOC, Sinti and Roma and others have to struggle with a difficult border crossing. Likewise, many relief goods have to be transported to Ukraine. At this point we decided to start the cooperation project “Humanitarian Transport”, in which we are now evacuating people who need help crossing the border into the EU as well as transporting relief goods to Ukraine.

You can read more about the project here: https://medical-volunteers.org/humanitarian-transport/.

If you have any questions just send a mail to: HumanitarianTransport@medical-volunteers.org

 

Unfortunately, violence against people living in Ukraine continues to increase and our team remains dedicated to providing medical care to anyone in need.

These are reflections and thoughts of our team working on the ground in Ukraine.

INTRO: ‘’While the clouds of war are roaring across the meadows of Eastern Ukraine, an endless caravan of buses is lingering towards the promises of the setting sun.’’ (Words by Jaka, Medical Student)

MORNING: ‘’ We were just starting our shift and were called straight to a car. There we found a woman who appeared very unwell, she was sweating, had blue lips and was complaining of chest pain. At first she did not want to be treated. The team was very concerned about her wellbeing and we explained this to her, after which she agreed to an assessment. After a short medical review and an ECG we diagnosed her with a suspected myocardial infarcation  and she was urgently transported to the nearest hospital by our ambulance, accompanied by one of our medics ’’. (Words by Mirjam, MVI Nurse)

SOCIAL: ‘’ For me, the social aspect of these kinds of projects is the most important. Working directly at the border crossing you do not only see people leaving, you witness families and couples being separated. While women and children can leave the country for safety, men between the ages of 18-60 have to stay behind. On most days you will see a lot of people approaching you with anxiety and stress symptoms. Many of these patients have said that seeing so many international volunteers who care about them and their situation has a big impact on the way they are feeling. Sometimes giving them a smile or a big hug is the best medicine. Even though you’re not always seeing so many patients, talking to people or playing football with kids while they wait for many hours to to leave the country is really meaningful ’’. (Words by Merle, MVI Volunteer, Paramedic and Medical Student)

CONTRAPUNCT: ‘’ We felt so loved and cared for on Ukranian Easter Holiday. Even at the darkest and most distressing time for their country, the Ukrainan people still showed such love and generosity by bringing us food and sitting and spending precious time with us on a holiday which is all about family ‘’. (Alice, MVI Doctor)

Quote: “War does not determine who is right-only who is left and willing/ready to help ”. (Words by Jaka, MVI Volunteer and Medical Student)

With the increase in the atrocities of this war, thousands of people continue to seek asylum in other European countries and the presence of humanitarian organizations on the ground is very necessary to provide food, accommodation, transport, legal assistance, medical care, among other demands and needs for social assistance.

Your support is very important and does make a difference. Please consider supporting our mission.

Link: https://medical-volunteers.org/donate-now/

Demographics in Bosnia, February 2022

The one doctor, one nurse team in Bosnia saw 241 patients in February. During the cold weather, there are fewer people on the “game”, the term used amongst those on the move for the act of crossing the border. There were more people staying in camps throughout Bosnia but particularly in Sarajevo. With the warmer weather coming in March/ April, we expect to see numbers rising but not to the extent of previous years due to routes that the people on the move (POMs) take changing toward Serbia and Romania. However, there are still people in need in Velika Kladusa, Bosnia with living conditions in squats contributing to health conditions and injuries from pushback and endless cycles of going on the “game”. The team has been working hard to ensure that people receive the healthcare they desperately need.

Check the full report by Kathy, Medical Coordinator in the Balkans.

Bosnia Report February 2022

Update: The project “hilfsbus” was successfully terminated. Our follow-up project “Humanitarian Transport” will, however, work to ensure that people in need of special protection or assistance can leave Ukraine.
For more informations about the new project click here: https://medical-volunteers.org/humanitarian-transport/
MVI is part of a project called “Relief BUS” with the aim to evacuate as many people as possible from Ukraine to a safe place.
Our goal is to organize and operate a shuttle bus that will operate in the cities of Western Ukraine and the Ukrainian – European border.
You can find more information on the project page at:
If you have any questions, you can contact Sarah from MVI at: sarah@hilfsbus.de

The team in Bosnia has been reduced in size in the recent months to become a one doctor, one nurse team. This is not only due to the routes that people on the move (POMS) are taking changing but also due to the reduced number of people going on the game (slang for the attempt to cross the border) during the winter month.

Check the full report by Kathy, Medical Coordinator in the Balkans.

Demographics in Bosnia January 2022

In challenging times like these, it is good to hear stories that tell of humanity and mutual support.

Thanks to our tireless Medical Volunteers in Thessaloniki, we can tell such a story: a young man from Pakistan had to ask our team for medical help in July due to an almost completely shattered shoulder.

After three months and the unbeatable commitment of our team, he can move his shoulder more and more again. And that is almost a miracle. A car accident caused this incredibly painful and slowly healing injury to the refugee.

In mid-July the young man came to our clinic in Thessaloniki. The x-rays made it clear that the shoulder was severely injured and that there was only one possible way of treatment: an operation. However, that was anything but easy to implement. But our volunteers did not give up this time either.

mvi team Thanks to the motivation and passionate commitment of the team, the complicated operation on his shoulder was successfully carried out. It was like the task of a puzzle, the pieces of which had to be put together step by step. Day after day, the young man’s wound from Pakistan was treated by our team. The shoulder had to be immobilized for 45 days in order not to endanger the healing process.

One can only guess how difficult it must be to get through it all without the support and care of family members. The team was also in constant contact with the doctor who performed the surgery.

With increasing improvement in his physical condition, the patient was also able to gain more courage to face life.

His children and wife were so touched by this commitment and help that they thanked our team personally with voice messages.

With the help of physiotherapeutic treatment, we are now helping to mobilize his shoulder as fully as possible.

The wonderful care of our team has significantly influenced the life of this patient and gave a positive turn to the situation that seemed hopeless for him – we are deeply impressed and thank all supporters for this commitment to bring more humanity into this world!

Medical Volunteers are getting back to regular medical work on Lesbos again starting from November. After the fire during the night of September 9th, the island was in chaos. First, the refugees had to stay on the streets for ten days in the sun and the hot temperatures, without having enough water to drink and without basic hygienic supplies. Afterwards, most of the former residents of Camp Moria were housed in the new camp “Kara Tepe 2”, and some of the refugees were transported to the mainland.

The Greek government had received support from the World Health Organization for medical care in the camp – a short-term emergency aid. A team of doctors from Norway provided medical care for refugees in the new camp until the end of October. Our volunteers also partially supported this.

In the medium to long term, medical assistance is to be ensured again by the non-governmental organizations that were already active before the fire. Medical Volunteers have offered to continue to treat the people in the new camp. Long and strong discussions preceded this decision. And it is a decision which has also been controversially discussed amongst our volunteers. In the end, we came to the conclusion: we help where our help is needed. With our help in the new camp, we can ensure medical care for the refugees and a dignified treatment of patients and translators from the refugee community. And thus we will try to make sure – within our competence in medical care – that refugees are well cared for.

Our political demand remains: EUROPE MUST ACT! Refugees must be given future prospects. Every country within the European Union should receive and welcome refugees and show solidarity with those countries located at Europe´s external borders, such as Greece.

#europemustact | #leavenoonebehind

Please raise your voice with us: https://de.europemustact.org/new-pact-social-media-pack

No one has continuously provided physiotherapy for refugees, so we are now the first one to offer this specific kind of support. Most of our patients suffer from chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. Most of this pain is due to injuries caused by the living conditions at Moria Camp, lack of physical activity, bad quality mattresses or lack of mattresses, and much more. In our Physio-Center we can help these people in a focused and purposeful way.

Until now, Lesbos lacked a place for physiotherapy as an important component of their treatment approach. In the first week of April, after months of work and with enormous help of your donations, we finally opened our physiotherapy centre. It’s the first one on Lesbos that was created to treat fugitives.

Since its opening, we have offered physiotherapy, Feldenkrais movement therapy and massage courses. We want to offer some refugees internships nand practical training so they can perform their own treatment. The centre is open to everyone and we have already achieved great results with many of our patients.

Of course there are also some problems that we will have to solve in the next few weeks. One of them is that we only have one female physiotherapist, which means that women have to wait longer to get appointments.

Over the next few weeks we have organized a separate weekly course for men and women in which our therapists will teach and work together with a yoga trauma therapist. This is a two-hour lesson dedicated to back pain in order to teach the refugees exercises and stretching movements which they can then carry out independently. Our overall goal is to equip the refugees with their own skills and abilities so that they can help themselves and others in the future.

An increasing challenge is also that many of the refugees do not appear at their follow-up appointments. The main reason for this is that the Arabic and Farsi calendars differ from the Gregorian ones. This requires a high degree of communication and creative solutions. This area will be also closely worked on in the near future.

The new Physio-Center proves to be an excellent addition to the care of the refugees in every case. We will try, hopefully with your help, to maintain and expand this offer.