September 19, 2017
Voices From The Field: Françoise in Les Cayes, Haiti
In rural regions of Colombia, a village’s community health center is sometimes a several hours away by walking or boat – leaving hundreds of communities without easy access to basic healthcare. Incidents of malnutrition are common and many suffer from diseases caused by drinking contaminated water.
Rural communities have also been affected by Colombia’s decades of conflict, with violence against women being a significant problem. Around 30% of those we treat at our mobile clinics suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD or have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.
In the rural regions of Nariño, Meta, and Guaviare, Doctors of the World runs mobile health clinics with a focus on sexual and reproductive health. We provide family planning advice such as antenatal and postnatal care, contraception distribution, malnutrition screenings for pregnant women and young children, and if a woman wishes to have an abortion we refer her to the relevant services. We also provide medical and psychological support to women who have been victims of violence. In 2016 we provided 12,054 medical treatments, screened 3,832 women and children for malnutrition and provided 1,735 people with family planning advice.
In addition to our sexual and reproductive health work, we also work on increasing awareness amongst children and families about the dangers of drinking contaminated water. Our teams run educational workshops and distribute water filters to communities in order to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. Following 2016’s peace treaty between the Colombian government and the rebel group FARC, we are also starting to strengthen our partnerships with public health services to guarantee continued access to care for these communities.