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Colombia

52 years

of armed conflict

6 million

people displaced

30%

of people psychologically affected

The situation

In the remote rural areas of the Nariño, Meta and Guaviare departments, where the closest health centre is sometimes several hours away on foot or by pirogue, access to the most basic medical services can be extremely treacherous. The isolation of these inhabitants also leads to malnutrition and water-borne illnesses.

 

Their living conditions are worsened by sexual violence against women by armed groups. The constant conflicts in these regions have left deep psychological wounds on the population — 30% of people having visited the Doctors of the World mobile clinic suffer from anxiety, behavioural problems, depression, post-traumatic stress and/or sexual violence, among others.

 

The armed conflict has also contributed to a climate of mistrust and fear (disappearances, assassination of community leaders, threats, arbitrary detentions, etc.), which has hampered all efforts to advocate for their rights to healthcare, and work toward developing more services.

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Our action

Since 1997, Doctors of the World has offered mobile health services in isolated rural areas to those most affected by conflict, providing basic care with medicine and medical equipment. They focus on sexual and reproductive health, distributing contraceptive products, screening for sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer and breast cancer, monitoring pregnancies, and detecting malnutrition in pregnant and breatfeeding women as well as in young children. Women wishing to terminate their pregnancy are advised and directed, according to the Colombian legal system.

The team also provides medical services and psychological support, especially to women who are at risk or have been abused. If needed, victims are referred to organizations that can provide long-term support, particularly in legal matters.

Another concern is access to clean water. To provide safe drinking water to as many inhabitants as possible, Doctors of the World distributes filters and teaches educational workshops to school children and families. They provide similar services regarding waste management so that people can live in safe and healthy environments and eliminate the risk of disease.

Doctors of the World also teaches communities about their rights to healthcare and how to claim those rights. At the same time, we are developing working relationships with various public health organizations in the hopes that it leads to a peace accord.

Our Impact

In 2016:
  • MORE THAN
    7,890
    PEOPLE RECEIVED MOBILE HEALTH SERVICES
  • 802
    SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELLING SESSIONS WERE CARRIED OUT
  • 600
    MOSQUITO NETS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO FAMILIES
  • 178
    (OF WHICH 104 ARE WOMEN) CASES OF VIOLENCE BASED ON GENDER WERE DETECTED AND VICTIMS WERE REFERED TO MEDICAL AND/OR LEGAL SERVICES

Our partners

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History

1987

Doctors of the World begins to work with the Apaporis Indians.

1994

Start of a program for children living on the streets. Closed in 2000.

1997

Intervention in the Chocó department affected by the armed conflict. Closed in 2011.

2003

End of the program with the Indians, intervention in the Meta department affected by the armed conflict.

2010

Start of an intervention in Nariño.

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