Medecins Sans Frontieres Aids Osaka Homeless
Tuesday, October 5, 2004 Posted: 06:05 PM JST
Osaka is awash in homeless. Many of them hardly have enough money to buy food. Quite a few eat their meals from garbage cans at restaurants. The last thing on their mind is going to the doctor. They can't afford it and the only free medical service Osaka provides is located far away from where most homeless reside. Medecins Sans Frontieres has decided to fill this medical gap.
The Japan branch of MSF, an international medical support organization famed for its truly neutral stance and courage in the most demanding situations, will start providing free medical care to homeless people in Osaka. It is quite rare for MSF to offer services in a rich developed country like Japan, but the need is overwhelming.
Officially there are 7,000 homeless people in Osaka, but many observers believe the true figure lies much higher. Medical treatment is often only available once their conditions are life-threatening, and even then many hospitals won't accept them. As a result each year around 200 homeless people die anonymously on the streets of Osaka.
MSFJ is planning to use a minivan to visit homeless in Osaka Castle Park, Kema Sakuranomiya Park and along the Yodogawa river. Originally the group had planned to offer free medical treatment at their office in Miyakojima Ward, but they were forced to give this up due to strong protests from local residents.
The special group of four doctors will provide physical checkups, blood tests and drug prescriptions.
Keywords: national_news society welfare
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