Sydney GP ‘elated’ by news refugee dying on Nauru is receiving care in Australia

Amanda Lyons

25/06/2018 4:01:50 PM

Dr Sara Townend, who started a petition to bring an Afghani Hazara refugee on Nauru to Australia to receive palliative care, told newsGP she is grateful the Federal Government has flown him to Brisbane over the weekend.

Nauru’s Regional Processing Centre 2. (Image: Supplied)
Nauru’s Regional Processing Centre 2. (Image: Supplied)

Ali*, a 63-year-old Afghani Hazara refugee dying of advanced lung cancer, was transferred from Nauru to Australia on Saturday 23 June to receive specialist palliative care after the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) previously refused to admit him to the country.
The Federal Government’s reversal came after sustained public dissent from across the nation – even, as reported by The Guardian, from within the ABF itself.
Several petitions were launched in protest at the ABF’s rejection of applications by medical staff and ABF officials on Nauru for Ali’s transfer, including Dr Sara Townend’s petition for doctors which has gained more than 2000 signatures.
Dr Townend said she is ‘elated’ by the news of Ali’s transfer.
‘I’m grateful that the Minister for Home Affairs allowed him to come to Australia, and also to everyone who played a part, including those who signed my letter,’ she told newsGP.
However, Dr Townend is also keen to emphasise that Ali deserved access to better medical care before his transferral, and that ‘more questions do need to be asked’.
Adele Evans, Coordinator of the Australian Medical Students Association’s advocacy group for refugee and asylum seeker health, Crossing Borders, agrees.
‘This man’s case is not unique. There are many other refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres who are receiving inadequate healthcare,’ Ms Evans said.
‘DoHA has repeatedly claimed that refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres have access to health care “broadly comparable” to what is available in Australia.
‘It is clear that this Australian standard is not being met.’
* Full name is being withheld to protect the family.

nauru palliative care Refugee health refugee patients

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