CEB provides €1.15 million to support refugee healthcare in Ceuta and Melilla

3 December 2018

MELILLA – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is providing € 1.15 million in financial assistance to Instituto Nacional de Gestión Sanitaria (INGESA) to support healthcare services for migrants and refugees transiting through the autonomous Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

CEB Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy Rosa María Sánchez-Yebra Alonso signed the grant agreement along with the General Director of INGESA, Mr Alfonso Jiménez Palacios. The funds are provided from the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF), a grant-based facility established by the CEB in 2015 to help member states tackle the inflow of migrants and refugees.

Rosa María Sánchez-Yebra Alonso and Alfonso Jiménez Palacios

Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish enclaves on the African coast, have a population of about 85,000 inhabitants each, with an additional 30,000 commuters and visitors crossing the border each day from neighbouring Morocco and mainland Spain. In recent years, Ceuta and Melilla have found themselves under pressure from the inflow of migrants and refugees. By July 2018, new arrivals in Spain had increased by more than 130% compared with previous years, with an estimated 14% of those arrivals, or 4,000 migrants and refugees, arriving by land to Ceuta and Melilla. This has put additional pressure on local health services, which strive to offer full care to all patients, whether permanent residents or not, without discrimination on the basis of age, gender, ethnic origin or social status and in accordance with Spanish law.

Map of Spain

The MRF grant will contribute to the provision of enhanced healthcare assistance as well as to the faster identification and proper registration of migrants and refugees, through the acquisition of key equipment, the use of new biometric processes, and the appropriate training of personnel. The funds will also ensure that migrant patients infected with HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis, and also pregnant women receive appropriate medical assistance and follow-up care. 

Vice-Governor Sánchez-Yebra said: “Migrant inflows into Europe are far from over and the CEB continues to assist its member countries not only in dealing with arriving or transiting migrants and refugees but also in ensuring their smooth integration into society. Healthcare is a priority area. The MRF grant will ensure that the healthcare system of Ceuta and Melilla can offer quality medical assistance to vulnerable migrants and refugees.”  

Since its establishment in 2015, the MRF has allocated over € 26 million to migrant and refugee projects in CEB member countries.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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