Via the PLOS Blog Speaking of Medicine: Health in Flight: Medicine and Migration at the MSF Scientific Days. Read the whole post; here's an excerpt:
Research presented in this session included a cross-sectional survey of the health problems and violence endured by inhabitants of the migrant encampment in Calais, France (nicknamed the ‘jungle’) on their journey across Europe.
A retrospective analysis of the mental health disorders and traumatic events suffered by migrants treated at MSF outpatient clinics in Greece and Serbia on the Balkan route through Europe offered insight into the mental health care needs of these patients.
Possible models for meeting mental health needs were offered by presentations on the programmatic data generated by an integrated mental health programme in Domiz refugee camp in Iraq, and a stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial of individual counselling in a MSF mental health programme in Grozny in the Republic of Chechnya.
The second day’s keynote speaker, Kilian Kleinschmidt of Switxboard, also tackled the topic of migration. Kleinschmidt reflected on his experiences as former head of the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, describing how inhabitants of the world’s second largest refugee camp have found enterprising ways to establish normality against the odds.
On the camp’s so-called ‘Avenue des Champs-Élysées’, myriad small businesses have sprung up, even including a wedding dress hire shop which attracts customers from outside the camp with its reputation for cheap prices. Kleinschmidt argued that allowing people the autonomy to create their own solutions, and giving them the tools to be able to do so, is necessary in order to respond to humanitarian crises.
He stressed that people are the greatest resource in any setting, and that knowledge and resources should be made available to all, in order to maximise the potential both of human creativity, and of technology. Kleinschmidt termed this ‘the democratisation of knowledge’, which seems perfectly to capture the goals of PLOS Medicine’s Open Access ethos: making scientific progress accessible to the widest possible audience.
In Kleinschmidt’s view, ‘the world has an answer to everything’, and the more universally we can share research, the better the chance that those answers will be found.