Under the agreement, the two bodies will also make medicines available for refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan countries and other states.
Rabat – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Council of the Medical Association (CNOM) will team up to improve healthcare access for refugees and asylum seekers in Morocco.
The UNHCR and CNOM signed an agreement on May 20 to help enable both bodies to promote health services access for refugees and to fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The UNHCR representative in Morocco, Francois Reybet Degat, signed the partnership agreement with CNOM President Mohammadin Boubekri.
The agreement falls under the National Immigration and Asylum Policy that King Mohammed VI launched in September 2013.
The King’s migratory policy enabled officials to open the Moroccan Office for Asylum and Stateless Persons, and circulars published in October 2013 and January 2014 outlined measures allowing migrant children to access education.
The country also launched campaigns to help undocumented migrants and refugees to regularize their status to benefit from public healthcare and education services.
Under the new agreement, CNOM will offer support to the refugee and asylum-seeking populations through providing consultations with volunteer doctors in various medical specialties, including the field of psychology.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) said CNOP will support the UNHCR in its approach to establish agreements with Moroccan clinics and laboratories. It will also donate medicines for refugees.
Rebyet Degat said that the axes of the convention revolve around three main points: “The donation of drugs, access to mental health care and access to specialized health care.”
The UNHCR official explained that mental health care is of “paramount importance in normal times but more particularly in these times of confinement due to COVID-19.”
He said the partnership will provide valuable assistance to foreign-born populations living in Morocco, especially refugees and asylum seekers.
“This partnership is very symbolic, as are all the expressions of solidarity and hospitality shown by Morocco and its people,” he said.
Rebyet Degat lauded Morocco’s migration policy, stating that the new initiative from the UNHCR and CNOM is in line with the nation’s “inclusive” immigration and asylum system that Morocco established in 2014.
Boubekri also expressed satisfaction with the convention, emphasizing the support and help that it should provide for asylum seekers and foreign refugees in Morocco.
“This initiative aims to provide medical and human assistance to refugees from sub-Saharan [countries] or elsewhere,” he clarified.
The UNHCR acknowledged that Morocco often becomes a place of destination for refugees, rather than just a transit country.
The UNHCR emphasized that 55% of the refugees in the North African country are from Syria. The refugees live in more than 50 locations across Morocco, “which is a positive trend in terms of local integration, but also represents a challenge for the government, UNHCR, and partners to reach out to the most vulnerable and deliver necessary series.”