Health Unit for Migrant Asylum Seekers USMA

The USMA was created in October 2023 within the ICH, at the request of the Public Health Service and the Social Action Service. The aim of this unit is to coordinate and guide the management of the health problems of asylum seekers arriving in the Valais.

In practice, the USMA carries out entry health checks for people arriving from Ukraine, provides consultations in hostels and arranges vaccinations as required. Initially, it may take charge of some of the care, but in the long term, care is provided by the usual players in the care network. The unit is also responsible for training and informing applicants, particularly on hygiene and health issues.

Designed as a mobile outpatient facility, the USMA works in hostels and reception centres for asylum seekers. It consists of front-line nurses, a project manager responsible for organisation and administration, secretarial support and a part-time doctor. In total, the unit has 2.6 full-time equivalents. The USMA covers the whole canton, offering its services to the entire migrant asylum population of Valais.

The ICH is responsible for the operational management of the USMA, while a steering committee made up of representatives of the Social Welfare Service and the ICH, chaired by the cantonal doctor, is responsible for its strategy.

In short, the USMA ensures that primary health care is provided rapidly for a population in precarious circumstances. It organises the continuation of primary healthcare and, if necessary, the organisation of secondary healthcare, both of which will be provided by healthcare providers already present in the canton of Valais.