Improving access to healthcare for the most vulnerable populations

Improving access to healthcare for minors in precarious situations in France

I still can’t go to school

Doroftei, 10, has not been vaccinated - Saint-Denis - France

Location of Project Mayotte, Reunion, French Guiana, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val d'Oise, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Name of Association

Médecins du Monde
Project Partners
(financial and operational)
  • operational partners including associations (Cimade, Secours Catholique, Emmaus, etc.)
  • institutional partners (DGS, French Ministry of Health, CPAM, ARS, APHP, hospitals, etc.)
  • Sanofi Espoir Foundation

Program description

For several years now, children make up a growing proportion of patients treated by Médecins du Monde in France. Their number grew four-fold between 2011 and 2014.

In 2014, Médecins du Monde treated more than 5,000 patients in France who are minors.

They are migrant children, victims of conflicts in their country of origin and of exclusion from healthcare when they arrive in France, after particularly difficult migration journeys.

This category also includes unaccompanied children, left to fend for themselves due to the absence of their parents, or whose families cannot support them.

They are excluded children, the victims of precariousness and increased insecurity, who tend to abandon healthcare and end up with poor housing and food insecurity that expose them to violence and exploitation.

French health and social institutions struggle to recognize this cohort, despite their need for care and their right to protection.

In its report of June 8, 2015 the Human Rights Defender highlighted the "recurring difficulties of access to rights for the most vulnerable, disabled, poor and/or foreign children (...). Regional inequalities (...) especially for child protection and access to health care or education."

Project goals

Contributing to improving the health of minors, by:

  • responding better to the demand for care and access to care for children in difficult situations
  • enhancing access to social rights and to care in common law institutions for children
  • acting to eliminate discrimination in access to healthcare by minors in precarious situations

The program will be carried out with support from the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and will cover five complementary sites:

  • Mayotte Pediatric Center
  • Promote access to care for minors by means of a free offer of general local healthcare, or by referrals to common law facilities. Consultation in the center as well as decentralizing treatment to various sites to meet the most marginalized persons.

  • Sponsorship of hospitalized children (mainland France, Reunion, French Guiana)
  • Aid for isolated and seriously sick children. As parents cannot be with their children, volunteer godfathers/godmothers are regularly present to provide personalized emotional support that is indispensable in fighting the disease.

  • Slum areas in Seine-Saint-Denis and Val d'Oise
  • General medical consultations, pediatrics, midwifery and social health mediation sessions in these slum areas. Helping people to address common law facilities. A particular emphasis on child vaccination and sanitary conditions.

  • Coastal migrants
  • Actions between Dunkirk and Calais: mobile consultations in the camps, social care, referral to common law facilities. Opening a day-care center and a reception center for women, and the development of emergency care tools (clinics, basic goods, etc.).

  • Isolated foreign minors
  • Due to the failure to provide care for unaccompanied foreign minors, this program aims to improve their medical and social care provision by opening socio-medical and mental health consultations for isolated foreign minors at care and guidance centers in Paris.