#FridayFundraiser: Healthcare on the road to safety

At Oyster, we get a kick out of using our powers to do good – that means empowering people living with chronic conditions: wherever they are in the world.

In today’s Friday Fundraiser, we’re supporting the Refugee Council, the beneficiary of the Brighton Poem-a-thon, organised by Jackie Wills, published poet, Open University lecturer and Oyster freelance reporter and sub-editor.

The event, to be held on Sunday, has already raised more than £20,000, which will be used to help people loving in desperate circumstances.

Show them you care and donate today and help us spread the word on social media by sharing this post and using our #FridayFundraiser 


Learning about the healthcare needs of refugees from Sicily’s frontline medics


Imagine the entire population of Britain on the move around the world.

Now imagine people with multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, diabetes and all the complications that go with long-term health conditions crossing dangerous stretches of sea and desert to end up in a camp with no chemist, no GP, no medication, let alone access to dialysis.

There are in fact 65 million displaced people in the world right now. More than three quarters come from just ten countries.  Top of the list are Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is one of the commonest existing health problems along with psychological trauma. But migrants are also at risk of developing infection – particularly HIV and hepatitis – in the countries where they seek refuge.

In the UK, the Refugee Council, one of our charities under the spotlight this month, has at least a decade of experience bringing together information on the health of older refugees or those with special needs. It runs a Health Access for Refugees Programme, training volunteers to support newly arriving asylum seekers and refugees and help them access health and social care services.

And at the end of November, in an attempt to share expertise, the World Health Organisation launched a European Knowledge Hub on Health and Migration, with financial support from Sicily – a region that has cared for many of the migrants arriving in Europe, fleeing conflict and war.

“Italy has been one of the countries on Europe’s migration front line for a long time,” said Dr Ranieri Guerra, Director-General of Preventive Health at the Ministry of Health of Italy.

The Hub will help ensure health systems in countries receiving refugees and migrants can deal with the immediate health needs of new arrivals, as well as diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses.

The Knowledge Hub will be a platform for anyone working in migration and health, including health professionals, providing online training and a summer school, access to a network of experts, bringing together education and social affairs, which have a major impact on the health of refugees and migrants.

WHO provides Lebanon, one of the largest supporters of migrants, with medication for 150,000 patients suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, mental health and other chronic health conditions, plus 100,000 vials of insulin for people with diabetes – enough to treat around 500 vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese patients for a year.

We’re supporting the Refugee Council by sponsoring the Brighton Poem-a-thon on Sunday December 11, organised by Jackie Wills, published poet, Open University lecturer and Oyster freelance reporter and sub-editor.

Sixty performers take part in a 10-hour non-stop reading of poetry. The readers include celebrated poet Grace Nichols, whose work is on the national curriculum and actor James Wilby who has appeared in the films Gosford Park, Regeneration and A Handful of Dust, among others.


To sponsor any of the readers go to Just Giving: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/brightonpoemathon


Published on: December 9, 2016