years of armed conflict
displaced people every year
of civilians psychologically affected
In the remote rural areas of the Nariño, Meta et Guaviare regions, where the first health centre is often several hours away on foot or by dugout canoe, access to the most basic health services in these conditions is extremely high risk. The inhabitants of these regions are victims of isolation, which further leads to malnutrition and diseases linked to poor water quality.
These circumstances are worsened by the rape and violence suffered by the women at the hands of the armed groups. Furthermore, the psychological impact of the conflict on the population is particularly strong: 30% of patients in Doctors of the World’s mobile health services suffer from anxiety, behavioural disorders, depression, and post-traumatic and/or sexual violence related stress, among others.
The armed conflict has also added to an ongoing climate of mistrust and fear (disappearances, killings of community leaders, threats, arbitrary detentions, etc.), which has slowed down the organization of communities in order to claim their rights and to develop.
Doctors of the World provides mobile health services in some of the remote rural areas most affected by the conflict, with medical equipment and medicines needed for basic care. Emphasis is placed on sexual and reproductive health: distribution of contraceptive products, screening for STDs, cervical and breast cancers, pregnancy monitoring or monitoring of malnutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as in young children. Women wishing to abort are advised and directed, according to the Colombian legal framework.
In order to help those threatened with or victims of violence, particularly women, and the association's teams offer medical services and psychological support. If necessary, victims are referred to facilities that can follow their progress in the long term, particularly from a legal perspective.
Following the signing of the peace agreements at the end of 2016, Doctors of the World is strengthening its collaboration with public health services so that access to care for the population is guaranteed.
Moreover, in order to ensure that as many people as possible have access to drinking water, Doctors of the World distributes filters and offers awareness-raising workshops for schoolchildren and families. The same type of action is carried out with regards to waste management, to give everyone access to the healthiest possible living environment and thus limit the development of diseases.
Did you know?
On the 24th November 2016, after 52 years of armed conflict, a peace agreement was signed between the Colombian government and the FARC. While overall the situation now shows signs of significant improvement, “the greatest humanitarian disaster in the western hemisphere” has led to 220,000 fatalities, 40,000 disappearances and 6 million displaced persons. Much remains to be done to restore access to healthcare in rural areas affected by the conflict and to reintegrate the guerrillas into civilian society. The implementation of the peace process remains uncertain as the killings of human rights leaders multiply in areas formerly dominated by the FARC.
Doctors of the World organises awareness-raising workshops for schoolchildren and families. © Andréa Lamount
Meta, Guaviare and Nariño departments
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