The situation is extremely bad. We have no sewage system and had to dig holes in the ground. When it rains the water flows into the tents so the kids get sick. It’s also very cold and most families don’t have heaters, so we have to burn all sorts of materials. The kids are sick. Ourmost important concern here right now is medical care. We need doctors.
It’s a kind of medical utilitarianism: the patients’ needs come before everything. And people appreciate it: at a checkpoint, a man always gave us bananas because we saved his leg. They show us their babies in the street, and they remind us that the birth was difficult but that they’re still there.
Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work MSF does to help people enduring daily violence.
Despite a volatile security situation, MSF continues to provide free health care in four reference hospitals, 12 health centers, and four health posts in North Kivu, as well as in four reference hospitals, 19 health centers, and five health posts in the province of South Kivu. There are also a number of cholera treatment centers (CTCs), mobile clinics, and emergency response activities.
At the project in Masisi, MSF performed 105,681 medical consultations in 2011. In the Masisi hospital, 7,226 inpatients were admitted for hospital care and 3,947 women gave birth for free.
Some came from far away, having traveled up to 150 kilometers [about 93 miles] to reach us. A good number arrived long after the initial injury had occurred rather than in the acute or semi-acute phase, [with] some arriving simply too late to be saved. Among them were patients who had not been able to have any post-operative care after their surgery, patients who received inadequate care and others who hadn’t received any medical care at all.