Government claims asylum seekers refuse medical help

August 3, 2016

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Ónodi-Szűcs held his press conference at the Röszke transit zone. Photo: MTI

The Hungarian healthcare system can cope with the burdens posed by migration but the lack of cooperation from migrants is a serious risk, said undersecretary for healthcare Zoltán Ónodi-Szűcs at a press conference held at the transit zone in Röszke.

Ónodi-Szűcs said basic healthcare facilities are available at the transit zones in the form of health centers operated by the Hungarian Armed Forces. When needed, pediatricians even cross into Serbia to provide assistance, he said.

Since last April Hungary had spent HUF 350 million (USD 1.2 million) on medical services for migrants, Ónodi-Szűcs said, adding that this includes the costs of treatments, drugs, vaccines, screenings and transportation.

No showers

He pointed out that Hungary is often being accused of not lending sufficient assistance to migrants, but added that it is very difficult to do so if they refuse the help offered.  When asked why the government refuses to build showers within those three meters of the transit zones that are still part of the territory of Hungary, the politician refused to answer.

Speaking at the press conference, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Attila Kovács explained that in case of suspicion of contagious diseases, migrants are sent to health screenings. However, in the seven months passed this year, only some 350-400 of a total of 4,100 ordered health screenings could be performed, as all the other migrants have left Hungary, he explained.

Kovács said screenings found infections of syphilis and hepatitis A and C due to the poor conditions during their journey. But when asked by journalists, the undersecretary admitted that altogether they found two people with syphilis, one with Hepatitis A and three with Hepatitis C.  No one had been diagnosed with tuberculosis of the lungs this year.