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Who we are

Who we are

Medizin Hilft e.V.

Medizin Hilft e.V. is a nonprofit organization. The assistance we provide is guided purely by humanitarian principles and is independent of any political, world or religious views.
Medizin Hilft evolved from the commitment of a small group of doctors, who reached out and offered initial medical examinations to refugees who arrived in 2014. The refugees were housed in emergency accommodation, without any medical insurance, or a place to turn to for their health needs. From these small beginnings, a network of medical and non-medical helpers and cooperation partners grew, aiming to provide support to people without access to medical care due to structural gaps. Another of our objectives is to highlight these gaps through our work and to take steps towards closing them.

Our Goals

SOCIAL SUPPORT

People without access to the health-care system are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and also often suffer the consequences of difficult situations in other areas of their lives. We aim to offer them comprehensive support in collaboration with our partners.

ADVOCACY WORK

Health is a fundamental human right. Together with our cooperation and network partners, our goal is to draw attention to the gaps in our health-care system and work towards closing them by publishing our anonymous data.

MEDICAL AID

Germany is not an exception, in that people from the most different backgrounds are not covered by health insurance. We offer them medical care in our drop-in centers, facilitated by volunteer doctors and donations.

HEALTH EDUCATION

Despite a legal right to health insurance, many people slip through the cracks in our complex health-care system. By offering advisory services, information events and materials, we aim to prevent this from happening and (re-)integrate them (back) into the state system.

SOCIAL SUPPORT

People without access to the health-care system are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and also often suffer the consequences of difficult situations in other areas of their lives. We aim to offer them comprehensive support in collaboration with our partners.

ADVOCACY WORK

Health is a fundamental human right. Together with our cooperation and network partners, our goal is to draw attention to the gaps in our health-care system and work towards closing them by publishing our anonymous data.

MEDICAL AID

Germany is not an exception, in that people from the most different backgrounds are not covered by health insurance. We offer them medical care in our drop-in centers, facilitated by volunteer doctors and donations.

HEALTH EDUCATION

Despite a legal right to health insurance, many people slip through the cracks in our complex health-care system. By offering advisory services, information events and materials, we aim to prevent this from happening and (re-)integrate them (back) into the state system.

How we help

We work locally in our designated drop-in centers, as well as in various Berlin-wide campaigns. Our open.med Berlin drop-in center provides a low-threshold service for anyone with limited access to the health-care system. We were able to open our doors thanks to generous support from the Rotary Foundation, and now operate it with our cooperation partner Médecins du Monde. Within the framework of our initiative Medizin hilft Flüchtlingen (Medicine helps refugees) we work across the city at several emergency and communal accommodation centers that lack medical facilities. At our designated drop-in centers we offer general and pediatric medical care for people without insurance, psycho-social help and a guidance system that aims to help integrate people who are entitled to health-care services into general practitioner and specialist medical provision. Above and beyond this, we work all over Berlin and in the region with information events, our advocacy work and other one-off activities.

diagramm

OUR TEAM

Foto: Das Team von open.med Berlin

Currently approx. 120 doctors, nursing staff and helpers volunteer their time for Medizin Hilft e.V. They are the heart of our organization and work in projects where the need is greatest. A board consisting of five members and two full-time staff coordinate the volunteers and our diverse projects.

OUR STORY

NETWORK OF HELPERS

From just one person, soon a whole network of medical and non-medical volunteers came into being, who saw how dire the situation was and felt called to act. And so, when the first sports center was closed, they didn’t simply turn away, but continued to help where they were needed. Clinics were organized, staffed by volunteers in numerous emergency accommodation centers, and the work continued with vaccination programs and PR campaigns. A website, was designed offering multilingual information for those affected and supporting materials for specialists. The aim here, was and is, to provide low-threshold access to our organization’s knowledge and experience.

CLOSING THE GAP

Our task has always been to close gaps that exist in the system. Our aim is not to assume state duties on a permanent basis, but to offer emergency help where it is required. During 2015 our tasks changed in line with what was needed, for instance, clinics were set up in emergency accommodation, and some that developed efficient structures were handed over to state or charitable organizations. Since spring 2016, the number of new arrivals has decreased sharply. At the same time, the state assumed greater responsibility for initial medical checkups and vaccinations. Since then, we have conducted numerous vaccination programs by partnering with state agencies.

AN INITIATIVE BUILT ON SOLID GROUND

At the start, the initiative Medizin hilft Flüchtlingen (Medicine helps refugees) was affiliated with the Friends of the Protestant parish of Dahlem (“Förderverein der Evangelischen Kirchengemeinde Dahlem”), and right from day one, our organization has been 100% financed by donations. The generous support of many individuals, the AOK Nordost health insurance company, several Rotary Clubs in Berlin and the Protestant “Landeskirche” church provided the initiative with enough scope to help where it was needed most.

GROWING NEED

In 2015, as an increasing number of people sought refuge in Germany, the need for medical care of those waiting to be registered and have their applications processed rocketed. During the waiting period, several 10,000 people weakened from their flight lived in Berlin for months on end without health insurance, initial medical examinations or vaccinations. During this period, we set up new clinics and supported other initiatives, e.g. by providing supplies, coordinating volunteers and making available multilingual documents on standardized working processes relating to clinics and vaccination programs.

SETTING UP Medizin Hilft e.V.

Medizin Hilft e.V. was established in April 2016 as an independent, registered organization. The association was recognized as having charitable status, i.e. donations to us are tax refundable. The organization has ordinary members, as well as a board consisting of five people, who are responsible for the various projects along with two employees. The person as an individual is at the heart of what we do we treat and advise people in need because they have no or only limited access to the health-care system. We treat people with the same respect, whether they are refugees, Germans without health insurance, or are from any other marginalized groups.

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