Wednesday, 10 April 2013


For immediate release:

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care says Interim Federal Health Program incrisis on Refugee Rights DayGroup plans second National Day of Action June 17th to take message to thestreets


Toronto, April 4, 2013 �Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is marking
Refugee Rights Day by releasing more examples of refugees being denied
necessary health care because of federal cuts and confusion surrounding
the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). These are new cases reported
since Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care joined with the Canadian
Association of Refugee Lawyers to launch a Charter challenge to the
federal government�s cuts to refugee health care.

As hospitals, community clinics, medical professionals, and provincial
governments continue to struggle with the incomprehensible structure of
the revised IFH program individual patients � including sick children and
pregnant women fleeing
sexual violence � are suffering. This includes the recently publicized
case of a Calgary woman who was denied cancer treatment.

�We are finding more and more patients legally here having to go without
badly needed health care services,� said Dr. Meb Rashid, medical director
of the Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital. �The patients we see
have fled unimaginable terror to seek a safer life in Canada, and our
government is telling doctors that they cannot provide necessary
treatment.�

It has been six months since Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care submitted a
written proposal to Citizenship, Immigration, and
Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney that addresses the federal
government�s stated equity concern while maintaining access to important
health care services for refugees. The group has yet to receive any
response to its proposal.

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is organizing a National Day of Action
for June 17th to take the facts directly to the streets and tell Canadians
the consequences of the federal government�s cuts to refugee health care.

�The Conservative government is failing many sick refugee children and
women,� said Dr. Philip Berger, Chief of Family and Community Medicine at
St. Michael�s Hospital. �These refugee families are legally within our
borders and the government has a Charter responsibility to provide them
with basic health care coverage. Life saving medication and prenatal care
is not gold plated
health care. The government should finally start telling the truth.�

The following is a sample of cases catalogued by Canadian Doctors for
Refugee Care in which refugees have been refused coverage and care. Every
case has been verified.

�        a woman with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of
sexual violence in her country of origin cannot be treated because she has
to wait for her IFH coverage to be initiated

�        a man is found to have a mass in his liver after an Emergency
room visit. He does not have any insurance to follow up because he is from
a Designated Country of Origin (DCO) and cannot pay for it himself

�        a woman fleeing the sex trade arrives in the late stages of
pregnancy and cannot get any testing as she awaits her IFH coverage

�        a six year old child cannot get proper investigations for a
possible urinary tract infection as she awaits her IFH coverage. The
family cannot pay for the treatment

�        a woman with a biopsied mass in her neck cannot get a follow up
appointment to get her results even though she has health coverage through
the IFHP

�        a woman with a large mass in her pelvis cannot get diagnostic or
curative surgery because she is denied refugee status during the work-up

�        a woman in labor is asked to pay for the cost of her epidural as
the anesthetist is unable to understand her IFHP insurance coverage late
at night. She delivers her baby without pain control

�        a woman requiring treatment of fibroids and heavy vaginal
bleeding  is denied coverage for a necessary pelvic ultrasound.

�The government should listen to the 20 national health care organizations
as well as that of many provincial governments and
rescind these cuts now,� added Dr. Rashid.

More information is available at: www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca.

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