People living in rural areas of Colombia and regions affected by conflict continue to face barriers to healthcare.
Up until recently, armed conflict was confined to rural areas; now, new armed groups are consolidating in urban centres and their peripheries and insecurity is exacerbating problems of access to medical services.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued its programme in Cauca, Nariño and Caquetá, where poverty, social exclusion and violence have led to a high prevalence of preventable diseases and mental health problems. The health authorities have not guaranteed medical services in these areas. MSF teams run mobile clinics and offer services at health posts including basic, mental, sexual and reproductive healthcare, prenatal care, immunisations and a referral system for emergencies. A similar programme continued in Cauca Pacífico and a programme focused on mental health support for victims of violence, including sexual violence, operates in Cauca Cordillera.
People affected by conflict, sexual violence and psychiatric illnesses benefit when mental health services are integrated into basic healthcare. MSF is urging the government to recognise sexual violence as a medical emergency so victims can access the comprehensive care they need. The team opened a new programme offering mental health services to victims of violence, as well as comprehensive care (mental health and medical) to victims of sexual violence in Tumaco municipality in Nariño, and in Buenaventura.
Buenaventura tuberculosis (TB) project closed
MSF’s TB programme in the port city of Buenaventura closed at the end of the year. Since its launch in 2010, a total of 147 patients were treated for drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB in MSF-supported facilities. MSF also supported the national TB strategy. Some aspects of the programme have been transferred to the Municipal Program of TB Control and the Social Company of the State.
The programme in Caquetá was also closed at the end of the year.
No. staff in 2014: 139 | Expenditure: €3.9 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1985 | msf.org/colombia
Angela Patricia – Angela’s brother and her sons’ father were found murdered and dismembered in 2008
My sons … still ask me what happened to their father. I tell them you need to forgive to feel good. But they are angry and ask why they did that to their father and uncle. The older one was very sad and missed him a lot. The MSF psychologist has helped us overcome the pain and she has guided me a lot because there are times when you don´t know how to explain things to children. With her you can open up.