After years of planning, the first clinic dedicated to refugee health care in Saskatoon opened its doors Wednesday.
Refugee Engagement and Community Health (REACH) brings together medical professionals under one roof to provide services for refugees who face barriers accessing health care.
Roughly 300 government sponsored refugees arrive in the city every year with “very specific needs,” said Dr. Mahli Brindamour, a pediatrician at the clinic.
“Often times the children will have … nutritional deficiencies or developmental delay and this needs to be addressed as soon as they arrive,” she said.
Brindamour said the health providers involved in the clinic know how to best work with the “vulnerable population” who face “immense challenges” to accessing things like medical, mental health and dental services.
“There were many individuals in Saskatoon that were providing good care to refugees, but we weren’t working together,” she said.
Getting the clinic up and running hasn’t been an easy task. Brindamour noted securing financial support has been a struggle, and while some physicians will work on a fee for service model, most of the staff works voluntarily.
“People are putting hours and hours above their duty to be able to make this work because we think this is so important,” she said.
The clinic will operate every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. out of the Community Clinic on 2nd Avenue.
Brindamour said they’re working to secure additional funding so one day they can offer daily services.