Colombia: Help for victims of violence

Cali is once of the most violent cities in the world. On average,there are six murders a day.
National staff : 26 International staff : 18

MSF works in Agua Blanca, which is the biggest slum area in the city inhabited by 145,000 people. MSF runs two projects targeting youth. In the Cali slums, only three out of 10 male youths reach the age of 30 and many others fall victim to non-fatal lesions. They often receive little rehabilitation or psychological assistance and often live in such fear of their attackers that they hide themselves away.

MSF provides medical and psychological home care to injured people and their families. MSF is also planning to provide psychosocial assistance for adolescents considered "at risk".

MSF also focuses on the provision of reproductive health care for adolescents, as 34% of pregnant women in Cali are under 19 years of age. MSF promotes the use of family planning and provides sex education targeting health structures and schools.

Pre and post-natal care is provided by the team working out of one health centre. However, MSF also has contacts with other health centres where volunteers work with and alongside local institutions and other agencies.

MSF runs an urban health programme for marginalised slum populations in San Cristobal, Malvinas and Soacha in Southeast Bogota. Using mobile teams, MSF offers curative medical care, vaccination programmes and mother and child health care assistance. MSF also carries out water and sanitation activities, health education and is setting up an early warning system for epidemics. MSF also focusses on providing advice and information to the displaced.

In northern Colombia, MSF provides medical assistance to isolated communities. From project bases in Apartado, Monteria and Barranco Bermeja, MSF teams travel by boat to villages where mobile teams treat patients and train communities in malaria prevention. This is an extremely insecure area where guerrilla warfare has been waged for thirty years, leading to high mortality rates and population displacement. MSF provides psychological support to the displaced population of Monteria .

On Monday, 25 January, the west of Colombia was hit by an earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter scale, which left its mark on at least twenty cities. The city of Armenia and its surroundings was worst affected. The number of deaths were estimated at more than 1,000. MSF ran an emergency aid programme in the towns of Tebaida and Calarca, providing medicines, surgical supplies, clean drinking water and shelter. Moreover, MSF provides primary health care and surgical support. In this region MSF was able to reach about 80,000 Colombians. Psychological support was also provided with a focus on group sessions.