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Antenatal care for asylum seekers

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To the Editor: We read with interest the recent perspective written by doctors from International Health and Medical Services (IHMS).1 They state that regular visits to Nauru by specialists, including paediatricians, deliver care “commensurate with that in Australian communities”. The IHMS doctors also state that “We encourage informed commentary and debate among the public and the medical profession”. As specialist paediatricians who recently visited Nauru for IHMS, we disagree with both these statements.

We agree with our fellow Australian general paediatricians2 and the Australian Medical Association:3 mandatory immigration detention of children is child abuse. This view is supported by the numerous specific instances of child abuse meticulously documented in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention4 and corroborated in the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Control’s own Moss Review.5 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and 14 other colleges and health organisations have called for the immediate release of children from prolonged immigration detention.6

As long as asylum seekers…