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MSF mobile teams alarmed by health situation in central Kosovo

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Pristina - A mobile team of MSF has found a few thousand people in the hills surrounding Nekovce, Central Kosovo, hiding in extremely difficult conditions. During the day temperatures rise up to 38°C. Without shelter, very little food and drinking water, MSF fears that this could become fatal to the most vulnerable of them, the children.

According to Keith Ursel, MSF coordinator of the mobile clinic program in Kosovo, the majority of these people are 'double displaced'. "It is the second or third time they flee the fighting in their region. Over the last couple of days, most of them have been walking 15 to 20 km to reach safety. We were able to leave behind baby food, plastic sheeting for the construction of shelters, chlorine to disinfect the water, jerrycans and soap. Still more is needed, especially food. We also fear that the exposure to the sun combined with dehydration and diarrhoea could become fatal to some of these people, especially the children."

Every day two mobile teams are crisscrossing Kosovo, in search of accessible locations to set up mobile clinics together with local medical staff. Patients are mainly being treated for diarrhoea, respiratory and skin infections, but often also for problems caused by stress, like severe headaches and gastro-intestinal problems. Up to 350 consultations can be performed per day. Frequently, however, the mobile teams have difficult or no access due to the fighting or because they are stopped at roadblocks.