23. November 2010 Project reports, Colombia

Medical Aid in Colombia’s Jungle

Cap Anamur has been active in Colombia since the beginning of this year, in the northwestern province of Chocó. This region is the poorest in the country. For Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples living here in complete isolation, we are creating access to medical care.

In Kolumbien hat Cap Anamur 2010 die medizinische Basisversorgung in der abgelegenen Provinz Chocó, durch den Bau von Gesundheitseinrichtungen, verbessert.
Cap Anamur improves health care in the remote province of Chocó

In total, we have renovated six health care posts and equipped them with medical equipment and medicines. The outposts are distributed at a distance of 50 to 100 kilometers around Nóvita and Condoto and form a good supply network for the people of the villages, which still have a very traditional structure. This closes a big gap, because the nearest hospital is difficult to reach for them, even in the best of health. The route is too long and difficult to navigate, there are no roads in the whole area, so getting around is only possible on foot or by boat. Due to the armed resistance army, the security situation is poor. This makes it even more difficult for people to get medical help in an emergency.

Cap Anamur deploys medical personnel to Colombia

The hospital in Nóvita serves as a base station for our work. Here we had to renovate a lot of things and equip it with the urgently needed technology and medicines. When we arrived, the hospital was about 70 percent under water. The roof was leaking and needed repair, as did the plumbing. The entire pediatric ward was also renovated. Our logistics provider William Miller organized the structural measures and took care of the equipment. Nurse Johannes Grellmann supplies the affiliated health posts from here. However, most of them are accessible only by foot, donkey or boat.

Surgeon Carla Böhme works at the Condoto hospital. She has previously been to Congo for Cap Anamur, looking after the surgical department of our hospital in Kamituga and training the local staff. Now she trains the professionals in the Chocó. Young physicians who want to go to underserved areas right after graduation especially need her guidance and support. In addition, Carla Böhme conducts training sessions in Nóvita once a week and holds office hours there.

The project is to be handed over to the Colombian Ministry of Health shortly

In the short time since the project began, the team has already accomplished a lot: Most of the renovation work has been completed and the medical staff has structured its workflows so that it can provide good care to the health care outposts. In October, Dr. Edith Fischnaller organized the project handover to the Ministry of Health during her trip to Colombia. “We are optimistic that we will be able to complete the project shortly. Until then, however, we still have to take care of some urgent purchases, such as a used ambulance vehicle, a sterilization unit, an X-ray machine and other basic material to be able to diagnose and treat the most common diseases in this area,” says Cap Anamur’s chairman of the board.