Sunday, November 26, 2017

Top Australian Doctors Offer Help to Refugees in Manus

A number of most reputable doctors, psychiatrists and surgeons wrote an open letter to the Federal Government, offering their readiness to come to Manus Island and checking the health of asylum seekers and refugees for free.

There are 18 top Australian doctors including prominent psychiatrist and winner of Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, editor of Medical Journal of Australia Professor Nick Talley, and Professor Bastian Seidel's College of GPs chairman.

"We Australian senior doctors wrote this letter in a personal capacity to express our concerns about the health and condition of former prisoners still on Manus Island and are now in alternative accommodation," the letter said.

"We believe there needs to be an immediate and independent examination of the health status of those still in Manus," he said.

"We are willing to do this pro-bono examination, providing the right blend of clinical specialization," he added.

The group asked the Australian Government to facilitate diplomatic permission for their visit and agreed to allow them to care for asylum seekers.

"There have been reports of poor hygiene and sanitation, limited power supplies and inadequate living conditions," they said.

"All of these things worsen disease and health," he added.

Professor McGorry said many worried asylum seekers may not have access to treatment.

"We want to conduct independent checks so that Australians can get a clear picture of what is going on," he said.

The situation is critical
The leading doctors said recent incidents may have worsened the health of the former prisoners.

The Papua New Guinea Authority removed all 328 people who survived the former Manus Island immigration detention officially closed. They were transferred to new camps by police and immigration officials.

The UN refugee agency said it had received reports of several people who suffered severe injuries and medical care became paramount.

"The ongoing situation on Manus Island poses a risk of further deterioration, and further damages very vulnerable people," UNHCR regional representative Thomas Albrecht said in Canberra.

However, PNG Gari Baki Police Commissioner told ABC that the displacement of the refugees was "peaceful and non-violent".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton accused activists of making inaccurate and excessive claims of violence and injury. He said the activists failed to show evidence supporting the allegations.

"What is clear is there are organized efforts to provoke these problems and disrupt new facilities," Dutton minister said through a statement.

Professor Talley said that these doctors would approach senior government officials to respond to their letter.

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