MSF has moved its primary health care services in Baucau, East Timor, from an abandoned military facility to a nearby civilian hospital. The change-over had been planned for the past week and took place on Friday October 8. The civilian hospital used to be under the authority of a Philippines military section and now is coordinated by MSF.
There were no patients in the hospital at the time of the change-over. In the first afternoon, MSF staff members handled 50 consultations.
There is running water in the hospital and a surgical facility, which means MSF is able to undertake surgical cases in Baucau. In total, 18 local nurses shall be working with MSF in the facility.
The mobile clinics remain a lifeline for the area inhabitants who cannot make the journey to Baucau or are unaware of the care facilities there.
On Friday October 8, MSF Mobile-I travelled to Baguia with the UN escort. This is a two hour journey on poor roads. Both the Baguia village and health centre are intact. There are ten of the previous 17 nurses there. The local population fled the town during the violence and, of a previous population of 9,500, only 4,000 remain.
The MSF Mobile-I team conducted 39 consultations.
On Saturday, October 10, both MSF mobile teams travelled to Laclubar, approximately 30kms south of Manatuto and about two hours from Baucau. Road conditions there were, once again, poor, adding to the travel time consumed each day in getting to the villages.
All the area villages have been destroyed. In nearby Laclubar, 9,000 of a previous 11,000 are there. MSF conducted 92 consultations in a local government building that has remained intact.
Immediate appraisal is that the area population is not in as good a condition as those in the Baucau district. Consultations are mostly for respiratory tract infections (RTI), skin diseases, malaria and some TB cases. There are no malnutrition cases currently.