KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — Mercy Malaysia launched its first clinic for refugees in Ampang, Selangor, yesterday that offers outpatient treatment, vaccinations, and health education.
The clinic — which is fully funded by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) — was launched by the humanitarian organisation in collaboration with Yayasan Kebajikan Negara.
“With this clinic, we hope to prevent disease complications and overcrowding at government hospitals. In the medium and long term, we aim to effectively address potential public health problems such as disease outbreaks.
“We thank QFFD and QC (Qatar Charity) for their invaluable support in this initiative,” Yayasan Kebajikan Negara CEO Che Asmah Ibrahim said in a statement.
In the next three years, another four clinics offering primary health care services to refugees will be opened in various locations in peninsular Malaysia. The project will be run by medical relief organisations — Mercy Malaysia, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia, and Malaysian Relief Agency — with support from the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Four mobile clinics will also be operated in areas with high refugee and migrant populations across Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu.
The entire project is estimated to benefit an estimated 120,000 refugees in the country. Migrants have to pay higher fees in government health facilities and face the risk of deportation if they’re undocumented.
Mercy Malaysia president Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus said Ampang was chosen as the location of the first clinic upon consultations and discussions with refugee communities.
“It is a collaborative effort across several levels, including the potential beneficiaries themselves,” he said, explaining that the project was a tripartite initiative between the government, local NGO partners and international agencies.
According to Mercy Malaysia, over 180,000 refugees and asylum seekers are registered with UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur, with “many more” unregistered.
Malaysia, which hosts refugees and migrants from various countries like Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia, does not recognise refugee status as it has yet to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention.