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Egypt

Egypt is a key transit and destination country for African and Middle Eastern refugees and migrants, many of whom have been subjected to violence or persecution in their home countries.

Médecins Sans Frontières first started working in Egypt in 2010 providing healthcare those who would otherwise be excluded from accessing it, and responding to disease outbreaks, such as hepatitis C.

Fleeing Conflict 

The number of migrants arriving in Egypt has risen sharply in recent years due to conflict and instabilities in several nearby nations, such as Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya. Some have experienced violence and exploitation in their home countries, as well during their journeys to Egypt.

Many have psychological problems and physical disabilities. Migrants in Egypt are struggling with poor services integration, limited employment opportunities, and difficulties in accessing healthcare due to a lack of funding.

Since 2012, the MSF project in Cairo has been developing individual rehabilitative treatment plans for these patients, consisting of medical and mental health assistance, physiotherapy and social support.   

MSF’s Activity in Egypt

In response to the specific needs of this community, MSF runs an integrated healthcare centre in the Maadi neighborhood in Cairo which provides a novel multidisciplinary approach to its treatment. The centre has developed an integrated approach providing people with different services including gynaecology, physiotherapy, mental health support, as well an integral social component to help people find housing, work and access to other services.

A group of health promoters and cultural mediators accompany them in their recovery process, making sure that cultural aspects are considered in the provision of medical and social services. 

The majority of our patients come with symptoms of trauma: disturbing thoughts, nightmares and other sleep problems, panic attacks or chronic pain symptoms, depression and anxiety, fear and worry, and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. The hopelessness leads to many of our patients considering suicide as the only option to reduce their suffering.

Christine Rufener
outgoing mental health activities manager at MSF’s integrated healthcare centre in Maadi, Cairo

MSF is engaged in continued discussions with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population, and national medical institutions, regarding establishing partnership projects in key public health areas.