Dehydration, trauma - the health risks migrants face

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Thursday, October 3, 2019
Dehydration, trauma - the health risks migrants face

Author: Marion MacGregor  | | 3 October 2019

Migrants who make the journey to Europe in boats face huge risks – not least to their physical and mental health. Those who become ill during their journey receive treatment on arrival, but they often struggle with lasting psychological trauma.

"For some of the people rescued, the medical consultation by our team onboard marks the first time in a very long time that someone is listening to them,” says Italian doctor Luca Pigozzi.

In August, more than 350 people – many suffering health problems – were trapped on the rescue ship Ocean Viking for two weeks before Malta finally allowed them into port. While the ship – operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediteranee – remained stuck at sea, Pigozzi was among the doctors on board who operated a mobile clinic. Most of the patients were suffering from skin and respiratory infections, but some had received war wounds, such as grenade shrapnel under the skin, or had serious chronic illnesses like diabetes.