Photo: Mud roads in Mattar, Ethiopia make transport of patients and supplies difficult. © Kate Chapman, MSF.
MSF nurse, Kate, on overcoming hurdles to get her patients to treatment:
“On Wednesday, the river had risen so much that the area where we land the boat in town had broken its banks and flooded half the town. This left our only landing point around 800 meters from the road on the main dock, wedged between the many huge open top, steel cargo boats being loaded with contraband destined for South Sudan.
The clinic in Adura had been busy with over 150 patients. On the way back we had one patient for transfer in the car, an old lady with TB. We came across some men carrying a very unwell looking man. We stopped, found him to be critical, packed him in the car and made our way back to Mattar.
I called ahead to our base and asked them to send the boat with a stretcher and to meet us on the road. Of course no one was there when we arrived so leaving the patients by the car we carried the heavy boxes of drugs and equipment to town, meandering through the heavily bogged path leading to the river. This is very difficult as just walking without carrying anything is a challenge in itself on the treacherously slippery Mattar mud. I am twice as good at not falling over compared to how I was at the beginning of the mission, but compared to the sure footed team, I’m still a joke!”