Colombia: health care days on the river Caguán
Extract from Colombia report 2011.
In 2011, the main source of health care for people living in villages along the river Caguán, situated about six hours by launch from Cartagena del Chairá (Caquetá), was the service provided by the mobile health units organized by the ICRC in the area.
“It’s a very complicated situation when you get ill here; they won’t let any medicines through the reservation. What happens when people get sick is that the community gets together, collects money and sends them on a seven-hour journey up river. Otherwise, we have to cure them with home remedies or creams we have here,” explains a man living in Santo Domingo, in the lower Caguán area.
The medical team, which visited eight places along the river Caguán between the villages of Santa Fe and Peñas Rojas, was formed by two doctors, two nurses and a dentist and saw over 7,500 people. The most common complaints in the Caguán villages are respiratory infections and chronic disorders, such as high blood pressure.
There are also high risk situations, such as early pregnancies with no prenatal care and delivery by traditional midwives.
“When my daughter Francy became pregnant, I didn’t want her baby to be delivered by a village midwife, because it’s very dangerous, so I had to pay for her to be taken on the express launch and for the delivery. I had to sell my animals to pay the 1,240,000 pesos it cost,” explains a man living in Monserrate, in the lower Caguán area.