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Dr Françoise Sivignon is President of Médecins du Monde.
Your marriage dissolves and you lose your job. You have financial troubles because your benefits aren’t enough to care for you and your child. So you forego the prescriptions you need to care for your high blood pressure—how could you afford it without insurance, anyway?—and hope your circumstances change before anything life-threatening happens.
This is the story of Klaus, a 60-year old German national who sought help in one of our clinics last year, one of over 43,000 people we saw in the past year in 14 countries.
Our experience shows us that unmet medical needs and high levels of suffering is a reality for far too many in Europe who are living below the poverty line or fleeing conflict, violence or discrimination.
However, healthcare should not be made available only to those who have a certain level of income or live within certain borders. Despite being a cornerstone of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, of the patients seen by Médecins du Monde in 2016, 3 in 5 did not have access to even the most basic healthcare coverage.