Health care in war zones


Whether they are fleeing war, conflict, discrimination, poverty, or the consequences of global warming, exiles have a right to a decent reception. The Foundation devotes over 15% of its budget to support the field-based associative actors who work alongside them. Elise Boghossian, the founder of the association EliseCare, which provides medical aid to survivors in Iraq and Syria, spoke with us:


In 2013, when the Syrian conflict began, you were an acupuncturist based in Paris and you went into the field in Jordan “alone with your needles.” What pushed you to make this choice?

“I myself am the granddaughter of Armenian deportees, and my parents are emigrants. I said to myself that one day when I would be able to do so, I would reach out to these people just like others had done for my family. On the ground, it was a shock. There were no doctors, only four volunteers for 10,000 refugees. No one knew about acupuncture, but I suggested to the victims that they try the needles to see if it relieved their pain, as there was no morphine. So step by step, I was able to help them. “


EliseCare’s action is now carried out thanks to 9 clinics, 6 mobile buses, 3 permanent dispensaries and 40 health professionals. How did your solitary initiative become a great human adventure?

“Faced with the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, with the arrival of Daesh, the priority was to set up sustainable actions. I trained doctors; I let them use my equipment so that they could practice. In 2014, the first dispensary was created and a medical team was recruited. The dispensaries’ mission is threefold: ensure consultations and free health care, allow for patients’ psychological monitoring and provide access to medical training (acupuncture, first aid, gynecology, radiology, biology). EliseCare also trains Syrian and Iraqi refugee women for health professions. “


During the first half of 2018, nearly 50,000 people risked their lives to reach Europe by the Mediterranean Sea. Europe and France must face these deportees who are fleeing conflict and human rights violations. What are your actions in France?

“In France, thousands of people do not have the opportunity to live decently and are deprived of health care. We started in Calais in 2016. In 6 months, our acupuncturists carried out over 5000 consultations to the benefit of 3000 beneficiaries.
I believe that it is by acting wherever we go and around us that we realize that our happiness also depends on our relationship with others. It might seem selfish, but I think that we are all connected and that each person’s happiness can only be made possible unless he or she reaches out. “


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