Jean Bottu (Médecins du Monde): a social organisation for public health
Presenting Esperanza House and Médecins du Monde’s work in Luxembourg. Interview with Jean Bottu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Médecins du Monde in Luxembourg.
Can you briefly describe Esperanza House?
Esperanza House is a Catholic centre in Rue du Dernier Sol for homeless people which offers hot meals, among other services. Since 2014, Médecins du Monde (MdM) has worked with this centre to provide twice-weekly medical treatment for people who aren’t covered by Luxembourg’s national health system, in a specially designed office. The team, consisting of volunteers and non-medical outreach workers, nurses, social workers and doctors, provides medical care. 235 patients attended 605 appointments as part of this programme in 2017.
«In 2017, 235 patients attended 605 appointments at Esperanza House.»
How does MdM provide this care?
MdM’s mission is to “provide care and bear witness”, both “here and around the world”, targeting the most vulnerable populations, urgently and in the long term, while working for equal access to healthcare. MdM Luxembourg is part of the international MdM network and relies on three core professions for its work: doctors, psychologists and social workers. Since it was founded in 2013, MdM Luxembourg has focused on projects which provide treatment locally, including Esperanza. The voluntary nature of MdM’s work is one of its values and strengths: we currently have a hundred or so people who regularly take part in various local projects. Medical care is provided in exactly the same way, wherever it is provided: the person in need of treatment initially makes contact with a member of our outreach team. If this is his or her first time with MdM, he or she is then referred to a social worker who works to clarify the patient’s situation and find out why he or she is not covered by Luxembourg’s national health system. Once examined, the patient receives the necessary treatment. Free appointments and free medication are organisation’s guiding principle.
Have you developed partnerships with other Luxembourg health agencies?
MdM is one of Luxembourg’s many social and health organisations. Hospitals in Luxembourg (HRS, CHL) and Esch are indispensable health sector partners. Our work with each of these institutions is governed by a formal co-operation agreement. We organise specialist appointments (ophthalmology, dermatology, orthopaedics, ENT, neurology, cardiology, psychiatry and physiotherapy), if necessary, with medical specialists from these hospitals who work as volunteers. In addition, MdM offers dental appointments every week at the emergency dental surgery at the CHL. We also work on a daily basis with other partners, including Inter-Actions and its community workers and the National Committee for Social Defence. MdM provides medical treatment for Abrigado’s clients.