Wide ranges of needs and activities dominate MSF role in northern DRC
12 November 2008
MSF teams are continuing their work in Goma and in other towns and villages in the province of North Kivu, and remains very concerned about the many people still on the move after fleeing recent fighting. Some displaced people are returning to their places of origin around North Kivu. Yet many of the displaced and local residents continue to be in urgent need of food, clean water, healthcare and basic items like blankets and shelter materials. Teams are continuing to work at health centres in Kiwanja, in Rutshuru town, and at Rutshuru hospital. MSF is the only organisation currently working in Rutshuru and is trying to fill the gaps left by the departure of other aid groups. In Kibati, just north of Goma, ten new cholera cases were reported yesterday, compared to the 48 cases treated from Friday to Sunday. Overnight, fighting around Kibati camp forced several patients to flee the cholera treatment centre, but they later returned. Two cholera patients were transferred to Goma General Hospital for further treatment. Cholera consistently recurs in parts of North Kivu. As usual, MSF is treating cholera throughout the province. Between January and September this year, MSF treated 1480 cases of cholera in the area between Goma and Saké, south and west of Kibati. In the same period, 1469 cases were treated in Rutshuru, and 851 in Mweso and Kitchanga. Recent fighting has contributed to a heightened cholera risk and factors for its spread include poor sanitation, lack of clean water, the constant movement of the population, and crowded conditions in displaced camps. MSF is cleaning and stocking the surgical ward at Goma General Hospital and will begin performing surgeries there tomorrow. Mobile clinics will stop going to Kibati camp, just outside Goma - an assessment yesterday confirmed that other aid groups are successfully managing the needs there. MSF is still trucking clean water to Kibati. West of Goma, MSF has started working at the hospital in Kirotshe. Yesterday there were 54 consultations, and the surgical team was able to save the life of a pregnant woman who experienced serious complications. A mobile clinic team also traveled west to Mushaki yesterday and performed 96 consultations there, primarily for eye infections and stress-related pain. Local people had been without medicines for some time. Northwest of Goma, in Kitchanga and Mweso, MSF is continuing to provide primary and secondary healthcare and running mobile clinics. A mobile clinic team is visiting Kalembe today, west of Mweso. A large proportion of the town's population has fled recent fighting in the area. In Masisi, 80 km northwest of Goma, a six-person MSF international team and 80 Congolese colleagues are providing healthcare at a hospital and health centre. MSF is continuing to explore the area, as security conditions permit, identifying people with unmet health needs following recent fighting and displacement.