The Health Centre for Undocumented Migrants offers healthcare to people who do not have legal grounds for residence in Norway. The centre is owned, managed and operated by the Church City Mission in Oslo and the Norwegian Red Cross / Oslo Red Cross.
There is a large demand for health services in this group. Since the opening in 2009, there has been a regular increase in the activities of the Health Centre for Undocumented Migrants.
The centre is open for drop-in consultations two days a week. In addition, some of the patients are given referrals to other institutions and specialist services, either through volunteers or the public health service. Different group offerings have also been established. In 2015, the centre had 908 patients, and since they opened they have treated 3326 patients and had over 15,000 consultations.
The health centre has more than 175 active volunteers, consisting of doctors, psychologists, nurses, physiotherapists, chiropractors, midwives, bioengineers, pharmacists and social workers, in addition to around 40 volunteer telephone interpreters. There is also a permanent general manager and a medical director.
An important supplement
Patients say that they greatly value the Health Centre for Undocumented Migrants and express gratitude for the care they receive. They feel that they are seen and respected. It feels as if the centre and the work that is done here is recognised, and it is considered a significant supplement to the public health service.
Continued need for help for the undocumented
The health centre provides health information to the undocumented migrants, contributes to them receiving healthcare from the ordinary health service and documents the health situation of the undocumented. The goal is for the centre to become unnecessary so that it can be discontinued, but it does not look as if this is within reach.
LHL International has cooperated with the Health Centre for the Undocumented since before the opening. We were in the resource group and contributed professionally to the training of personnel and planning of work to protect against infectious diseases. We have also donated some equipment to the centre. Brochures on tuberculosis in many languages are available for free use in the waiting room. In addition, we contribute with our own employees as health personnel.
Fundamental health rights for all
The ideology behind the health centre coincides with the ideology of LHL International. Migration and the health rights of migrants are fundamentally important, also with regard to tuberculosis work. In Norway, proper rights have been established – for everyone – to be diagnosed and receive treatment for communicable diseases that are hazardous to public health. In reality, however, a need has been documented for migrants to be given access to understandable information, that they know about their rights, and that they are given help to obtain access to treatment.
LHL International views the right to life and health as basic and fundamental human rights, and they would like the authorities in Norway to be responsible for the health rights of everyone who is located in Norwegian territory.