Medical students reiterate call for medical assessment of asylum seekers on Manus Island
Thursday May 24
The Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) is saddened by the tragic news regarding the apparent suicide of another asylum seeker detained on Manus Island and reiterates its call for the independent medical assessment of the asylum seekers on Manus Island. AMSA is concerned for the mental and physical health and wellbeing of these asylum seekers, as a result of their detention and inadequate access to quality medical care.
"The serious health consequences of any form of detention, especially surrounding mental health, cannot be denied," said Ms Adele Evans, the Project Coordinator of AMSA Crossing Borders, the AMSA Global Health Project that advocates for refugee and asylum seeker health.
"We are concerned with the revelation that the man suffered from psychotic episodes, resulting from chronic seizures that were not adequately managed," Ms Evans added. "These deaths are preventable through the provision of adequate and appropriate healthcare, for which Australia is ethically and legally responsible."
In the last eight months, AMSA has called on the federal government to increase its transparency regarding the standard of healthcare available to asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and to provide assurance that it is equal to that of Australia. Additionally, it has joined other peak medical bodies in requesting the government allow an independent medical body access to offshore detention centres in order to conduct an urgent review into the health and wellbeing of the asylum seekers.
"The healthcare services on Manus Island do not provide the specialist care required to manage the deteriorating mental health of the asylum seekers currently detained." Ms Evans said. "Services, such as counselling for trauma and torture, need to be reinstated in these detention centres to prevent any further deterioration in detainees’ mental health. This is even more pertinent after the recent Amnesty International report found the refugees on Manus Island have one of the highest recorded rates of mental illness in the world"
Mr Peter Dutton, the Minister for the Department of Home Affairs, assured the Australian Medical Association (AMA) that these services would be shortly restored in November of last year. Currently, these services have not been made available.
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Published: 23 May 2018